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Chucky, Queer Icon?

During Pride Month, it can seem as if their faces are everywhere: Madonna, James Baldwin, Elton John, Judy Garland, Grace Jones, Bea Arthur. The well of queer icons is as deep as it is colorful. But how about Chucky, the homicidal redhead doll?

Chucky, the killer doll who first appeared in the 1988 horror film “Child’s Play,” was thrust into the L.G.B.T.Q. spotlight this month when Peacock, NBCUniversal’s streaming service, displayed a banner on its home screen advertising a collection of queer-themed movies and TV shows. The image included the demonic doll, as well as the evergreen gay icons Cher and Alan Cumming, beside the words “Amplifying LGBTQIA+ Voices.”

Through the years, viewers have come to learn quite a bit about the horror movie character, watching him navigate companionship (“Bride of Chucky”) and parenthood (“Seed of Chucky”). But many seem to have been taken by surprise that he was also a queer ally.

In the first season of the TV series “Chucky,” one of several “queer horror” offerings in Peacock’s Pride collection, the doll reveals to Jake, a gay teenager who bought him at a yard sale, that he has his own queer, gender-fluid child.

“You’re cool with it?” Jake asks.

“I’m not a monster, Jake,” the doll responds. Chucky, it seems, is a PFLAG parent.

Also in Season 1 of the TV show, Chucky is living his life — including his sex life — in a woman’s body, and he remarks on how interesting it has been. Chucky has broadened his sexual horizons.

While some online seemed shocked — or at least amused — by the streaming service’s choice to use Chucky’s image to represent queer voices, others were ready to claim him for their community: “Chucky is for us,” one user on X wrote.

When asked how Chucky was selected to appear on the service’s queer Mount Rushmore, a representative for Peacock declined to comment beyond sending links to videos attesting to Chucky’s queer bona fides.

Don Mancini, who created the Chucky character and wrote the seven movies in the “Child’s Play” franchise that he inspired, was open to the idea that the doll occupied a realm in which he is not bound by sexuality — or the limitations of human bodies, for that matter.

Mr. Mancini said in an interview on Monday that he had not seen any negative online chatter about Chucky’s L.G.B.T.Q. support; he figured that those who were shocked were simply not in the know.

“I just assumed that they weren’t horror fans, and not being horror fans, they just weren’t aware of Chucky’s status as a queer icon,” Mr. Mancini said. “I think that’s fairly well known by this point.”

Mr. Mancini, who is a gay man, created Chucky in 1988. Ten years later, the doll’s comfort with gender fluidity made it to the silver screen with “Bride of Chucky.” Even then, it gave critics something to talk about, he said.

“‘Bride of Chucky’ was one of the first — to me — certainly one of the first mainstream horror movies to have a sort of casually, positively gay character,” Mr. Mancini said. “We didn’t make a big deal with it. He was gay. He certainly wasn’t judged for being gay.”

Mr. Mancini was proud of the breakthrough in the horror genre, he said. In the next “Child’s Play” film, 2004’s “Seed of Chucky,” Mr. Mancini wanted to lean into the franchise’s queerness. In that movie, Chucky and his wife, Tiffany, have a doll-child who is gender-fluid.

“It has really been nice for me again, as a gay man, to have a lot of gay, queer and trans fans say that movie meant a lot to them, and that those characters meant a lot to them as queer kids,” Mr. Mancini said. “We have been very proud to be branded as the — I don’t know if we’re the gay horror franchise, but we are a gay horror franchise.”

One person who appears to have been privy to Chucky’s queer history is Alan Cumming, who appears in the Peacock banner alongside Chucky and Cher, as her character in “Burlesque.”

Mr. Cumming posted a photo of the banner on his Instagram account with the caption, “Together at last!”

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