Friday, July 18, 2014

LGBT Dolls and Action Figures: a Partial List and Links

I do not collect gay dolls as a theme. Some of the male figures are enhanced to such an extent that I either blush or laugh to see them. They make me think of the phrase "the tail wagging the dog." So why submit a post about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered dolls? To see what I could find out. Flex my research skills. And to recognize that diversity means difference beyond race or ethnicity.

So I include this list of dolls either based on LGBT people or created to represent LGBT people -- with two exceptions*. Those two people expressed public support for the LGBT community. If you are aware of other playscale figures whom I have missed, do send the manufacturer and the doll/action figure name in the comments.

Bandi / Irwin Corporation (2 companies)

Sailor Neptune
Sailor Uranus


[Jackie Chan listed here because he is sympathetic to the LGBT community. Hence the brackets. I thank two readers for asking about Jackie Chan; I apologize for my earlier error in listing him here. He is married to a woman, and he has not come out as gay.]*

Gizmo Development

Gay Bob 


New Kids on the Block Jonathan Knight      


Amanda Lepore, described by Wikipedia as an American "transgender public figure"
RuPaul, described by Wikipedia as an American drag queen


Boy George - additional information about this doll is available only the listed photos are mostly gone.


[Cyndi Lauper listed here because she is sympathetic to the LGBT community. Hence the brackets.]*
Harley Quinn, Marvel character
Joan Jett 
Kristy MacNichol
Lindsay Lohan
Poison Ivy, Marvel character
Raven-Symone of That's So Raven
Rock Hudson
Rosie O'Donnell


Cheetah Girl Galleria Garibaldi (Raven-Symone)


Sulu from Star Trek, original series (played by George Takei)


Willow Rosenberg from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (character only, NOT actress playing role)

Totem International

Carlos, Billy's Puerto Rican boyfriend
Tyson, Billy and Carlos' African American friend


Elton John- more information about the playscale version of the singer

Additional reading and viewing

Jay Bell Books Top Ten Gay Action Figures   
Fashion Doll Empire re-dresses the Rebel figure by Tom of Finland
Amazon review of the Rebel figure by Tom of Finland
Pinterest boards: Decades of Ken, Gay Dolls Life
Love Has Fangs, web comic

Is He [Gay] or Isn't He?

Face of Integrity Toys' Jordan doll
Integrity Toys Jordan lips pursed

How do you determine that a doll is gay? Or bisexual or lesbian or straight?

Shrug. The manufacturer's back story? Sometimes. If the doll is based on a real person, do you match that person's sexuality? Maybe. Do you decide based on a story idea you have for the character? It depends.

I have never seen any of my dolls form romantic connections. (Neither the straight nor the gay ones.) So you cannot tell from their behavior. When I was young, a cousin -- who shall remain unnamed to protect the guilty -- would bang a boy and a girl doll together and make kissy sounds. Me, I worried that I would pair the wrong dolls up. Anybody remember Attack of the Puppet People? In spite of the movie title, the creepy character was actually the doll maker who shrank people down so that he could keep them as his toys. Shudder. Suppose my dolls had minds independent of the characters I imposed on them? I never believed in Santa - ho, ho, no - Santa was Mommy and Daddy. But I did wonder if my dolls could have had secret lives. Hmmm.

Jump forward many years later. Chez adult Dana. My dolls and action figures still are not having sex -- as far as I know. I pair them up in my mind, but I seldom set up doll stories let alone relationship scenes. Even when I had story ideas, I have not acted any out with the dolls themselves. So imagine my surprise when a visitor pointed at my Integrity Toys Jordan and informed me: "That doll is gay."

"Really?" I asked her. Jordan was dressed in his original turquoise pullover and dark jeans. He was standing among other dolls and action figures. He did not seem to be doing anything out of the ordinary. I shook my head. She thought I was disagreeing.

Oh, yes. She was sure of that.

"How do you get that?" I was curious.

"Look at him: his lips are pursed."

I tilted my head. Yes, Jordan's lips were pursued. That settled the matter for her.

Now I was not going to argue the sexuality of a doll with a guest. Especially not with a guest who did not even "play with" dolls. Life is too short. I am too lazy. Jordan's official Integrity Toys' story links him with Janay. At least, they were paired together in wedding sets before Tariq and Keith came onto the Integrity Toys' doll scene. Jordan and Janay. Of course, that is the official story. For all I know, my Jordan might be involved with Tariq. Or Alejandro ... no, strike that. I don't care for that glint in Alysa's eyes.

Sometimes the responses of non-collectors surprise me. Just when I have them pegged as unimaginative, they come out with a statement like that. I mean, it takes some imagination to assign sexual orientation to a 12" plastic doll. Then again, why couldn't he be gay? Perhaps the lack is on my part.

But he is my Jordan. So I decide what his story is, right? I look at Jordan - hey, did he wink? 

Or maybe I don't.