A 16-Year-Old Transgender Advocate Inspired The First Transgender Doll

"Of course it is still just a regular girl doll, because that's exactly what I am: a regular girl!"

It is so important for people to feel they have representation, in books, movies, television, music, art, and elsewhere. For young kids, however, toy stores are often among the first places they seek to find characters and dolls that look like them. Having access to dolls to identify with can help instill kids with a sense of confidence and normalcy, regardless of their background, gender, orientation, ethnicity, or anything else. 

More and more, toy companies are taking notice of this need for inclusivity, which why we've seen dolls with no hair, dolls that are differently-abled, and dolls that celebrate a variety of races.  But we've never seen a doll that is transgender — until now. 

Tonner Doll Company recently launched the first transgender doll.

The doll was inspired by 16-year-old activist Jazz Jennings. Jennings is an important LGBTQ+ figure who has been openly talking about her experience being transgender since she was a toddler. Plus, she has helped people gain a greater understanding about transgender issues through her social media channels, documentaries, and book Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen.

Tonner Doll Company's founder, Robert Tonner, was inspired to create the Jazz Jennings doll after watching Jennings' documentary and followed her activism work. He eventually decided to contact Jennings' mom on Facebook with the idea of collaborating.

The resulting doll was designed and sculpted by Tonner himself. What separates it from the brand's usual offering is that it will be marketed to kids. Normally, the Tonner Doll Company specializes in collectible and high fashion dolls for adults. 

Tonner told Forbes how dolls are often criticized for their negative impact on kids and he wanted to help change things. He explains, "I thought this is the perfect time for something like this."

Jennings also took to Instagram to share her hopes about the upcoming launch of the doll, 

"I hope that it can place transgender people in a positive light by showing that we are just like all other people."

She added, "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' doll will be available in July 2017.

(H/T: CNN)

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