Words: Alastair James; pictures: the LEGO Group
Bricks may have been used during the Stonewall riots in 1969 as a demonstration of anger, but now a much smaller and more colourful variety are being used to celebrate instead.
To mark Pride month in the US this June the LEGO Group is paying tribute to the LGBTQ community with a new set titled 'Everyone is Awesome' inspired by the rainbow Pride flag.
The simple and eye-catching set features 11 gender-free monochrome figures, each with their own individual hairstyle and colour of the Pride flag, including the trans and black and brown stripes.
“This model shows that we care, and that we truly believe ‘Everyone is awesome’!”
Matthew Ashton, Lego’s Vice President of Design (and the man we have to thank for this gorgeous set) says: “I wanted to create a model that symbolises 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 346-piece buildable model stands just over 10 cm tall and with a depth of 12.8cm it’s the perfect fit for most shelves or windowsills.
Matthew says that the set - which goes on sale from 1 June - is also a celebration of the LGBTQ people working within the LEGO Group, as well as the brand’s adult fans.
Matthew Ashton, LEGO's Vice President of Design (Photo: The LEGO Group)
“I am fortunate to be a part of a proud, supportive and passionate community of colleagues and fans. We share love for creativity and self-expression through LEGO bricks and this set is a way to show my gratitude for all the love and inspiration that is constantly shared.”
Speaking in a video to mark the announcement, Matthew says he built the set for his own desk initially before offering it up as a way to pay tribute to the LGBTQ community.
In an emotional moment, he openly discusses his own struggles growing up as a member of the LGBTQ community.
“There was a little bit of teasing and bullying from other kids. But I think one of the things that affected me quite a lot was some of the adults around me were really trying to push to be what I wasn’t.
I was quite effeminate as a kid and was constantly being told ‘man up, toughen up, stop being such a sissy’. In all honesty, when I’m looking back I think those adults around me were probably doing that to protect me in a way.
It made me retreat into myself a little bit and not want to stand out. And I think that’s been really, really difficult for me.”
Thankfully Matthew was supported by his parents and others when he did come out. He goes on to talk about those who still face discrimination and violence, which he explains is partly why this set has been created, as a way of showing support and solidarity.
Matthew says the set is also a thank you to the brand’s LGBTQ fans who he says have given a lot of love and loyalty over the years.
"It made me smile, then cry..."
Speaking to the Guardian after an exclusive preview of the set, Flynn DeMarco, who competed on the American television show, Lego Masters US, says it means a lot.
“Often LGBTQ+ people don’t feel seen, especially by corporations. There’s a lot of lip service and not a lot of action. So, this feels like a big statement.”
"For Lego to do something so inclusive, so full of joy – it made me smile, then cry, then smile a little more.”