Growing up as a gay kid in a small Midwestern town – being told what toys I should play with, or what I should wear, or how I should talk or walk – the message that I sometimes got was that I was wrong or different. The adults in my life had the best of intentions, and it’s just the way things were.
Of all the toys I had (and one that was safe to play with) Lego sets were always my favorite, a hobby that has continued into adulthood.
Lego, one of the leading toy brands in the world, has always featured a wide array of sets at various price points and created for people of all ages and abilities. I’ve always loved how Lego (the plural of Lego is Lego - in case you didn’t know!) can be built using the instruction manual, or you can create and design your own masterpiece. I’m in good company; according to our YouthBeat® data, a whopping 49% of male kids regularly play with building toys.* Lego is the runaway favorite brand of male kids, ahead of Nike, Nintendo, and XBox, and 31% of male kids regularly read Lego Magazine.**
Over the past several years, Lego has significantly enhanced their messages of diversity and inclusion in not only their products but also in marketing, social media, and related media like The Lego Movie franchise. One of the newer additions to the Lego family, released just in time for Pride month, is their set titled ‘Everyone is Awesome.’ And it truly is awesome.
While it is a simple set made of 346 pieces, it makes a bold impact. The colors of the stripes were chosen to reflect the original rainbow flag. Pale blue, white and pink were added to the design to represent the trans community, and black and brown were also added to acknowledge the diversity of backgrounds and skin tones within the LGBTQ+ community. While some might think this set is geared towards a certain community, it’s also for all the allies out there – parents, siblings, co-workers, and others.
Matthew Ashton, Vice President of Design at Lego, who also designed the ‘Everyone is Awesome’ set, said: “I wanted to create a model that symbolizes inclusivity and celebrates everyone, no matter how they identify or who they love.”
“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’!”
The set’s name plays off the catchy Oscar-nominated song “Everything Is Awesome,” which was featured in 2014’s The Lego Movie. This is the first set dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community in the Lego Company’s 89-year history and comes at a time when the toy industry at large is releasing products aimed towards inclusivity.
One of the reasons I truly love this set is because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. LGBTQ+ causes are incredibly important, but pride is also a time to celebrate. The vibrant waterfall of colors, the various hairstyles on the 11 minifigures, and the potential to re-design the rainbow and make it all your own results in a truly memorable set that I think will be popular among the LGBTQ+ community and their allies.
Representation is important and essential in today’s world, and this new Lego set really highlights that. I love how toys, for both adults and children, have evolved over the last few years. Even a simple Lego set reminds us of the importance of building the world into a better place for everyone – one brick at a time.
*Source: YouthBeat® Parents Total Year 2020
**Source: YouthBeat® Youth Total Year 2020