There is a transgender doll to be unveiled at the New York Toy Fair this week which is making waves in the toy industry and social media.
Some argue that aren’t most dolls transgender anyway? After all, none which are designed for kids have genitalia. Quite simply no they’re not, and that’s defined in their marketing rather than their shape or features.
The point is that this doll is not just “labeled” transgender as a marketing tool for shifting stock. It is modeled after Jazz Jennings; a very well-known transgendered girl who at only 16 years of age is helping the plight for transgender people to become commonly accepted in the US and beyond. And the introduction of this doll is a very important part of the development of transgender rights and acceptance.
There are boy and girl dolls of all ethnicities for kids, and there have even been drag queen and gay dolls on the market aimed at an adult audience. It’s the right time for a transgender doll to come out, and while it’ll likely be top of the Christmas and Birthday wish list for many transgendered little girls, kids of all ages and genders will likely fall in love with it too. Further, although it’s aimed at kids, it goes a long way towards adult’s awareness.
I personally believe, as a transgender woman myself, that we are a different gender, set aside from male and female. We’re not women. All the hormones and surgeries in the world which we can suffer will never make us real women; genetic women. We’re transgender women and I’ve come to be proud of that label, and I’m determined to wear it with confidence rather than have it serve as a word of excuse for the inescapable fact that I’m not a genetic woman.
To read Jazz’s sentiment in a recent BBC News article that she’s just a regular girl is sweet in that she rightly considers there’s nothing strange or shameful with who she is, and if it helps her to fit in to her life more comfortably with that outlook, who am I to judge, but I certainly don’t think of her as a regular girl. Beyond that, I don’t even think of her as a regular transgender girl. To me she’s a very brave, confident and inspiring transgender girl that other transgendered people both older and younger can admire and be thankful for. The world needs more remarkable young transgender women like her, and as a proclaimed teenage activist, I wish she’d have pressed the most important element of this doll – that it is not a regular little girl doll and that Jazz herself is not a regular little girl.
I’m sure many people will be getting the doll when it comes on the market, and I hope it is just the first of many more in years to come. If the Tonner Toy Company releases it mainstream and not limited edition, kids male, female, transgender male, transgender female and anything other will doubtless end up playing with it, raising awareness and encouraging acceptance with families globally, and while not obviously transgender, that it is being marketed as such is truly wonderful and very important!