Gay dads celebrate 21 years with plastic baby

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

If you thought Sir Elton John and David Furnish’s son Zachary was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, then spare a thought for Digby du Pont.

He’s travelled the world, met celebrities and has a wardrobe of more than 300 made-to-measure suits. Not bad for a plastic doll.

His ‘parents’, New York gay couple Mark Kirby and A J Sapolnick, claim they turned down an offer to baptise him by the Bishop of London because Digby is Jewish.

“We found Digby in a Paris flea market in 1990 and we both had an immediate connection with him,’ Mr Kirby told the Daily Mail.

“We haggled over his price and paid £4 for him. He was a total mess, covered in mouldy dew and was not wearing any clothes. We brought him back to our room and cleaned him up and it was there that our family began.”

The couple told the newspaper that they were looking to adopt a child when they stumbled across Digby, but decided that it would be better to have a child that would not interfere with their social lives.

“Around that time we had a lot of friends that were beginning to have children and this was interfering with our social life. They couldn’t go anywhere because of their children and they would bore you with photographs,” Mr Sapolnick told the newspaper.

“So I said to Mark that we should have ourselves a baby who wouldn’t interfere with our social lives. So that was when we decided to have a doll baby.”

The newspaper’s website shows photographs of Digby’s travels around the world, including him posing with a Vietnamese opium pipe and outside the Taj Mahal. In most of the photographs, Digby is wearing miniature versions of the matching clothes his ‘fathers’ are wearing.

‘We consider Digby to be a vinyl person, not a doll,” said Mr Kirby. “When we travel abroad Digby usually gets a seat on the plane, although I must add that we don’t pay for a separate one for him.

“We put him on a spare seat if there is one and Digby usually manages to get his own seat.”

“Once in Egypt a border guard wanted to take his head off and we simply wouldn’t allow it,” he told the newspaper.

“We would never allow him to be taken apart, it would be traumatic and also too difficult to be put him back together.

“He has traveled so much that he has his own passport. Passport control in some countries stamp it when they have a sense of humour.”

Digby owns a wardrobe of 300 different outfits including pin-stripe suits, safari outfits and white silk suits.

The doll will celebrate his 21st ‘birthday’ on the 21st April, celebrated annually by the couple and their friends. In 2003, he celebrated his Bar Mitzvah.

Mr Kirby told the newspaper: “Once on an Indian cruise from Chennai to Mumbai Richard Chartes, the Bishop of London become so enamoured with Digby that he wanted to baptise him.

“We told him that Digby had no interest in this because he was Jewish.”

The doll’s reputation has grown to the extent that some of the world’s finest restaurants make preparations for his arrival. The management of the exclusive Cipriani restaurant in Venice have a special chair for Digby to sit on and a glass of milk for him to ‘drink’ so that he is not left out.

The couple say they recently ate out with Digby at an exclusive New York restaurant with Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York.

Mr Kirby said that he often receives emails and messages from people who have bumped into his partner and Digby during their travels: “Digby has affected many people all across the world. Digby and us is a story that we are happy to tell.”