Matthew Ashton, a designer for the Danish toy company Lego, originally made the rainbow set-piece and minifigs for his own desk.
“I’d moved offices, so wanted to make the space feel like home with something that reflected me and the LGBTQIA+ community I’m so proud to be a part of,” Ashton said of the 11-color rainbow and matching figures.
But his coworkers spotted the little display.
“Other member’s of Lego’s LGBTQ+ community came by to tell me they loved it,” said Ashton. “So thought, ‘maybe it’s something we should share.”
Several months later, the set will be available June 1, 2021, to everyone, everywhere. Titled “Everything is Awesome,” set #40516 consists of 346 pieces including 11 brand new, monochrome minifigs. The rainbow includes the seven colors of the gay pride flag, the three (pink, white, blue) of the trans flag, and black and brown stripes to represent the intersectionality of queer identities. Each stripe has a minifig to match, faceless and mostly androgynous.
(Mostly. Only one is designed with a specific gender presentation in mind. The purple minifig, featuring a beehive wig, is a nod to drag performers.)
“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’,” said Ashton. “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’.”
Lego has included nods to LGBT representation before – set #21045 depicting Trafalgar Square comes with a tiny pride flag, for instance, but “Everything is Awesome” is the first explicitly LGBT set made by Lego.