Mattel has released a collector’s item doll based on a transgender TV actor. The new doll is part of the company’s Barbie Tribute Collection and is modeled on Laverne Cox, a biological male who identifies as a woman. Cox is self-described as a “Four time Emmy Nominated Actress and Emmy winning producer.”
Mattel, which has been producing Barbie brand dolls since 1959, advertises the new doll by telling customers that Cox is the “first transgender woman of color to have a leading role on a scripted TV show.” The company also says Cox promotes “moving beyond societal expectations to live more authentically.”
Cox said that the new doll is a “celebration of transness” and is important for young children who are in need of a “space for them to dream” and be reminded that being trans is beautiful. Cox added that the new doll is coming into an “environment where trans kids are being attacked.”
Cox was reportedly highly involved in the design of the new collectible doll. Cox reportedly asked if the doll could be made to look “more African-American” and contributed to the choices for hair coloring and styling.
Cox said that because he was “assigned male at birth,” his mother refused his pleas for a Barbie doll as a child. Cox stated that when “he” became a “she,” “her” therapist said that “it’s never too late to have a happy childhood.” Cox began playing with Barbie dolls as a 30-something and said that “her” mom began sending Barbie dolls for Christmas and birthday presents since then.
As a child, Cox wanted to play with Barbie dolls, but was not allowed to do so. But later in life at the recommendation of a therapist, Cox purchased a Barbie as an adult.
Mattel Vice President and Global Head of Barbie and Dolls Lisa McKnight told People that the company is proud to support “inclusion and acceptance at every age.” She added that Mattel intended to use the Tribute Collection Barbie to “recognize Laverne’s significant impact on culture.”
Mattel is also making a donation in Cox’s name to TransFamilySOS, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting acceptance of transgenderism in America.