Forget the rumours about Ken. Billy, the gay doll with all his parts, takes the market by storm

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The Independent Online
For years there were rumours about Barbie's boyfriend, Ken, and everybody wondered whether GI Joe would come out of the closet. But now those bets are off - there is a new boy in town.

His name is Billy and he is the world's first out and proud gay doll, anatomically correct in every detail. Tall and blond with biceps and boxers bulging, Billy is taking America by storm.

The 13in tall doll, whose penis measures 1.5 inches, was launched at the New York International Gift Fair less than a month ago and sold out within three days of delivery to the American stores.

John McKitterick, a former fashion designer for Red or Dead, who designed Billy, is delighted.

"I was always sure he would be 100 per cent successful because he is the first gay product that can be sold over-the-counter instead of under it,'' he said.

Mr McKitterick, who is gay, insisted that Billy is a responsible adult who has a message to convey. "We are taking gayness out of the ghetto, but we are not saying that every gay man should look like this. We are trying to put out a message about individuality and persuading people that it is OK to be gay, to be different,'' he said. "The point is that you should not judge people.''

Billy began life as a two- dimensional drawing who modelled Mr McKitterick's designs, but the idea of making him 3D gradually took hold as he acquired a personality.

For the record, he is from Amsterdam, advocates peace, understanding and safe sex and he has his own condoms - Japanese finger condoms are a perfect fit.

However, for the time being Billy, who retails at $49.95 (pounds 30), will only be sold in the United States.

"It is not that the British are not ready for him, just that he was launched in America and he has done so well that we are trying to cement that," Mr McKitterick said. "When the time is right he will be sold in England."

Mr McKitterick is currently working on a "friend'' for Billy, but his identity is a closely guarded secret.

"Billy is gay because I am gay, if I was a transvestite ... who knows," he said.

In the meantime, not to be outdone by his female counterparts, Billy has a range of simply gorgeous outfits. There is Wall Street Banker Billy, sailor Billy, cowboy Billy, Master Billy (very rubber and studs) and San Francisco Billy, who's just hanging out dude.

In two months' time Hollywood Billy will be on the scene, complete with shades and lycra shorts.

Mr McKitterick's dearest wish is to build Billy his very own apartment, where he can entertain friends with the video from the song he has recorded.

Move over Ken, you are so dated man.