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Lego, the ubiquitous brand of children’s toy that has sold over 600 billion pieces around the world, is now offering an LGBTQ+ set called “Everyone Is Awesome” that consists of eleven figures, all but one of which have no gender assigned, while the only one with a specific gender represents “the fabulous drag queens out there,” according to the designer, Matthew Ashton, who also happens to be the Vice President of Design at the toymaker.
The set will start to be offered to the public on June 1.
“The colours of the stripes were chosen to reflect the original rainbow flag, along with pale blue, white and pink representing the trans community, and black and brown to acknowledge the diversity of skin tones and backgrounds within the LGBTQIA+ community,” The Guardian reported, adding that those figures were meant to “express individuality, while remaining ambiguous.”
Ashton said of the purple drag queen figure that it “is a clear nod to all the fabulous drag queens out there.”
Ashton told The Guardian, “Growing up as an LGBTQ+ kid – being told what I should play with, how I should walk, how I should talk, what I should wear – the message I always got was that somehow I was ‘wrong.’ 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 OK, there’s a place for me.’ I wish I’d seen an inclusive statement that said ‘everyone is awesome.’”
“I wanted to create a model that symbolizes inclusivity and celebrates everyone, no matter how they identify or who they love,” he continued. “Everyone is unique, and with a little more love, acceptance and understanding in the world, we can all feel more free to be our true AWESOME selves! This model shows that we care, and that we truly believe ‘Everyone is awesome!’”
Flynn DeMarco, a contestant on the television show Lego Masters US, echoed, “People look to a company such as Lego – a company they love and enjoy – and think, ‘Hey if it’s OK for Lego, maybe it’s OK for me, too.’ For Lego to do something so inclusive, so full of joy – it made me smile, then cry, then smile a little more.”
In March 2015, after a science journalist created a custom Lego set to honor female justices of the U.S. Supreme Court and submitted the set to Lego Ideas, she was informed the project was not accepted. NPR wrote, “Lego does not accept projects relating to ‘politics and political symbols, campaigns, or movements,’ the policy said — though it has created a Lego White House and Lincoln Memorial as part of its ‘Architecture’ line.”
Lego writes on its website, “We firmly believe in the transformative value of learning through play,” and quotes Dr. Elizabeth Byrne of the PEDAL Research Centre, University of Cambridge, stating, “The experiences we have as children have impacted who we are today as adults.”