With Pride just days away, Lego made a big announcement today: a 346-piece set with an explicit LGBTQ theme. The “Everyone Is Awesome” Lego set comes with 11 figures, each painted a different color of the rainbow, along with a rainbow arch to match.
Matthew Ashton, Vice President of Design, said in a video that he originally made a prototype of the set for his own desk after moving offices, to make the new workspace reflect the LGBTQ community, which he considers himself part of. His officemates said they loved it, and thus the idea to make it a real product was born.
Ashton hopes the set will be inspiring to LGBTQ youth. On growing up gay, he says, “Trying to be someone I wasn’t was exhausting. I wish, as a kid, I had looked at the world and thought: ‘This is going to be okay, there’s a place for me.’ I wish I’d seen an inclusive statement that said ‘everyone is awesome.’”
Along with the new set, Lego has created a dedicated “Everyone Is Awesome” page on its website, with the intention of laying out Lego’s stance on inclusivity in all its activities. If there’s any disappointment to be found in Lego’s new set, it’s that the company hasn’t taken any steps for its sales to benefit the LGBTQ community itself.
Genderless future — The Everyone Is Awesome set is a fun way of showing off Lego’s continued commitment to the LGBTQ community. It’s a pretty simple design, as far as Lego sets go — it’s not exactly a 2,600-piece NES — but it’s cute, loud in the right ways.
Lego paid particular attention to the set’s 11 monochrome figurines, ten of which are designed to be completely genderless. They’re meant to “express individuality while remaining ambiguous,” Ashton says. The final figure — purple with a beehive wig — is what Ashton calls a “clear nod to all the fabulous drag queens out there.”
No fundraising here — Lego’s announcement has been met, for the most part, with joy. LGBTQ representation is difficult to come by, especially in the toy market.
But there’s a bit of a caveat: Lego isn’t explicitly donating any profits from the new set to LGBTQ causes or organizations. Pride is meant to be a celebration of the queer community, yes, but it’s also an opportunity for businesses to give back to that community. It’s a little disappointing that Lego hasn’t taken this chance to give back more to the community.
The company has specified that it has an ongoing philanthropy arrangement with the organization Diversity Role Models, which focuses on teaching kids about inclusivity. But that arrangement had already existed; Lego hasn’t committed to increasing its donations to the organization for Pride.
The Everything Is Awesome set is great news for Lego’s inclusivity — it’s just disappointing to hear the company hasn’t committed to giving back more to the LGBTQ community in a direct manner.