Don’t tell that conservative schoolmarm, but there’s LGBT merchandise in the children’s aisle. That’s right, broader acceptance has over time also led to a variety of persuasions among the characters depicted in toy form, both in terms of fictional characters marketed in poseable figurines and in an increasing number of real-life people honored in play-set statuettes. While we wait for the inevitable release of a President Tammy Baldwin plush doll, head to the collectible aisle or jump onto eBay to find some mint-condition memorabilia.
The announcement that Lego will release a collector’s edition Women of NASA set won loud applause for the diverse cast of subjects being re-created in Lego form. It also means physicist Sally Ride becomes the first lesbian to be memorialized in minifig form, at least in a piece of official Lego merchandise. As the first woman in space, the late astronaut joins a play set with Apollo programmer Margaret Hamilton, scientist and Hidden Figures subject Katherine Johnson, research executive Nancy Grace Roman, and first black woman in space Mae Jemison.
Was there a more iconic 'N Sync video than “Bye, Bye, Bye,” the puppet-riddled ’90s gem? The MTV hit inspired Living Dolls to produce a special line of real-life marionettes, including everyone’s favorite gay bass singer, Lance Bass. No, it ain’t no lie; you can still pick one up. You know you’re dying to pull a string and make his arm do that signature fist pound.
Once upon a time, there was a thing called the "Crocodile Rock." While the song dates back to out singer Elton John’s classic 1973 album Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player, this novelty singing doll was created by Yaboom Toys in 1999 to benefit his namesake AIDS foundation, according to the Celebrity Doll Museum. The toy was adorned in a ’70s-era signature glitter suit with rose-colored glasses and would sing the hit tune when a button was pressed on its belly.
Back in the Culture Club’s heyday, LJN produced a replica of androgynous singer Boy George in his Colour by Numbers getup with eye shadow as multicolored as a chameleon. According to the Celebrity Doll Museum, the doll was remarkable for its balance and poseability.
At the peak of New Kids on the Block mania, Hasbro released multiple lines of Barbie-scale dolls of each member of the boy band. When Jonathan Knight got outed by Tiffany years later, it retroactively turned this Hangin’ Loose figure with Jon in a pink-trimmed sweater into a great piece of LGBT memorabilia to pull out of the closet.
When Bandai Tamashii released a line of singers, flamboyant rock god Freddie Mercury surely proved an easy choice to include in the line. Be careful. This high-end action figure will rock you and your cabinet of collectibles.
The L.A. Galaxy's Robbie Rogers enjoyed his own minifigure release when OYO Sports released a line of Major League Soccer stars. You can tell it’s definitely not Lego because the knees bend. You can’t have a footballer whose knees don’t bend, for God’s sake. We like to imagine this figure reigning supreme over all other superhero action figures on Greg Berlanti’s toy shelf.
The first out player ever drafted by an NFL, Michael Sam has since left the league, but his classic bobblehead with a springy St. Louis Rams logo remains available for purchase at the NFL online store.
This very adult toy from Max Factory lets you pose bisexual porn star Billy Harrington in a variety of kinky positions. The figure happened to be the first in the "figma" line that could be undressed down to his birthday suit. Just be careful what link you click when you shop.
Perhaps no “sport” has such toy representation as professional wrestling. Mattel’s WWE Battle Packs shows a little LGBT love in this Prime Time Players showcase that includes out wrestler Darren Young, if you don’t mind taking home straight tag team partner Titus O’Neil as well.
Like your toys representing fictional heroes? DC Direct in 1998 released a Midnighter figure that since has become quite the collector’s item on eBay. Be forewarned, this one's hard to find, so even if you cough up the cash, you may still need to sleep with one hand on the gun under your pillow.
Don’t leave your Midnighter lonely. An action figure of longtime lover Apollo can also be found, and at a much more reasonable price. Let’s face it, Apollo may be just as gay but he’s only half as cool.
If you want to hunt down a figure of Willow, everyone’s favorite Buffyverse lesbian, you may as well go with this Cinequest exclusive Dark Witch Willow, since she was the first gay depiction of the character on the show. Wickedly LGBT.
And yes, you can get Willow’s lesbian lover, Tara, as well. Just don’t leave it somewhere a stray shot can damage its condition.
Playmate Toys’ beloved World of Springfield Line let you trigger different Simpson drops by pairing figures with various sets. Resort Smithers — and if you want your toy collection to be extra gay, you have to get the Smithers from his visit to a Fire Island-style vacation in the classic episode “Homer the Smithers” — came with a phone and a bag of pineapples among his props, and he would interact with Mister Burns's fireplace if you happened to have the set.
The Hogwarts Headmaster has been created in many different toy forms, but the slickest may indeed be this Medicom Kubrick Albus Dumbledore. Whatever doll you desire, though, choose wisely, for your choices show, yada, yada, yada. J.K. Rowling says Dumbledore is gay, so add him to your collection.
Of all Tatiana Maslany’s great performances in Orphan Black, her portrayal of lesbian scientist Cosima may be the most affable. So if you can pick up just one Pop! Vinyl from the new OB collection, make it this LGBT treasure, complete with dreadlocks and lab jacket. Best of all, it has no mouth to keep coughing up blood. (Heck, if you want a whole line of just LGBT Pop! Figures, check out this collection.)
No character has come to define the Overwatch series like Lena “Tracer” Oxton, who according to supplemental comics is out and living with her girlfriend. Want her to blink onto your mantle? Blizzard Gear released this 10.5-inch statue with an illuminated base.
That’s right. Gay dolls have existed since 1977, when Harry Rosenberg released Gay Bob to the world. This 13-incher came with his own closet from which to burst. He's dressed in a “mucho macho plaid shirt” and wearing one earring, If you peel the clothes off, you can also find he’s better equipped than Ken, even if he has no use for Barbie.
Star of the Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood, Captain Jack Harkness is an omnisexual character who looks like out actor John Barrowman. Hunt down this Get Retro collectible.
OK, so Gandalf technically exhibited no sexual orientation in the Lord of the Rings books or films, but he isn’t not gay, and actor Ian McKellen certainly is sure gay. Indeed, McKellen’s portrayal of this beloved Tolkien mage marked one of the few Academy Award-nominated performances by an out actor ever. So if you can find it, get one of these limited edition Asmus Toys sixth-scale figures (only 1,500 released). And remember, a wizard swings precisely in the direction he means to.