It may just be a toy, but it marks a shift in global views about LGBTQ youth: the world's first transgender doll was unveiled at the New York Toy Fair this weekend, and the Jazz Jennings-inspired doll will be available for purchase starting in July. The transgender teen whose memoir inspired the Tonner Doll Company's doll has already shown support for the limited-edition collectible, writing in an Instagram post: "This is the first transgender doll on the market, and guess what?! It's ME!!!"
16-year-old Jennings recently published her first memoir, Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen, and the doll is modeled on the book's cover photo. There will be two Jennings dolls available: one in shorts and a pink shirt, and another in a sparkling white dress. The doll was entirely designed and sculpted by the founder of the Tonner Doll Company, Robert Tonner.
"Jazz stands for everything I respect from a human nature point of view," Tonner recently said in a statement, according to CNN. "She's incredibly brave, intelligent, warm-hearted and creative."
The doll isn't available quite yet, but when it's released in late spring or early summer, fans will probably be able to snag a Jennings doll online or at one of the retailers who sell Tonner Doll Company products. Tonner told The New York Times that he'd love to see big-box toy stores sell the Jennings doll, but said controversy and the doll's higher price tag — the dolls are expected to cost between $89.99 to more than $100 — could dissuade more mainstream stores.
Controversy, however, isn't what Tonner was aiming for when he created the Jennings doll. "I don’t even know if the word ‘transgender’ will be on the package," Tonner told The New York Times. "She’s a great kid. She’s a very brave, special person. And that’s what we’re trying to get out there."
Jennings added to that sentiment in her Instagram post. "For those asking: the doll is considered to be the first 'transgender' doll because it's based on an individual who is trans. Of course it is still just a regular girl doll because that's exactly what I am: a regular girl!" Jennings wrote. "I hope that it can place transgender people in a positive light by showing that we are just like all other people."
Those who can't wait to get a hold of the Jennings doll can get real-life Jazz Jennings updates in the meantime. Jennings' memoir is available on Amazon, and Jennings posts frequently on social media, including on her YouTube channel. Other than that, fans will have to wait until warmer weather rolls around until they can purchase Jennings' doll.