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Toying with identity? Lego unveils ‘LGBTQIA+’ rainbow-themed set designed to ‘celebrate everyone’

Toying with identity? Lego unveils ‘LGBTQIA+’ rainbow-themed set designed to ‘celebrate everyone’
Lego has joined the growing roster of woke toy companies with a new buildable display model designed to symbolize “inclusivity,” prompting some to dismiss the construction set as a cynical marketing scheme.

On Thursday, the Danish toymaker unveiled its ‘Everyone is Awesome’ set, which features a rainbow-flag-inspired backdrop and 11 monochrome figurines, each with their own hairstyle and color. 

The model is designed to “celebrate the diversity of our fans and the world around us,” and serves as a “symbol of love and acceptance by the LGBTQIA+ community,” the company explained in a press release.

According to activist group OutRight Action International, LGBTQIA stands for “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual and/or Ally.”

The model uses the colors of the rainbow flag, but also includes pale blue, white and pink, representing the trans community, and black and brown as an acknowledgement of racial diversity. 

The creator of the set, Matthew Ashton, who serves as Lego’s vice president of design, said that the model was an expression of “inclusivity” and shows that the company “truly believes” that “everyone is awesome.”

The construction set will be available to purchase from June 1, which marks the start of Pride Month. The model will be sold on the company’s website and at Lego-branded stores. Lego said that is has also partnered with a number of organizations, including gay rights group Stonewall and UK-based charity Diversity Role Models, which “works to educate children about inclusivity and empathy.”

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The announcement was applauded by numerous social media users, who expressed eagerness to fork out their cash for the toy set. 

Others, however, had reservations. Many in the LGBTQ community accused the toy company of not doing enough to show they are truly committed to inclusivity. One person complained that Lego was not “gender neutral” enough, and suggested that the company was improperly associating females with the color pink. 

Several comments also pointed to the fact that the model appears to be marketed to people aged 18 and older. The toymaker explained in its press release that the model was intended for its “adult fans.”

“It’s useful we teach our children that inclusivity is important, why wait so long?” asked one observer.

The model was also criticized for not being very exciting, considering it’s just a colorful wall with figurines.

One negative review described the set as “just plain lazy and a bad attempt at trying to cash in on LGBT marketing.”

Some expressed concern that the company was trying to “sexualize” their toys, arguing that children should not be exposed to such ideas. Notably, Ashton told the Guardian that one of the figurines, which is purple with a ‘beehive' wig, was a “nod to all the fabulous drag queens out there.”

Lego is far from the first toymaker to go ‘woke’. Last year, Hasbro announced a new iteration of its classic board game, Monopoly, which gives women extra money when passing ‘Go’ – apparently as a way to fight the patriarchy. 

In February, Hasbro caused further outcry after reports circulated that it was making its Mr. Potato Head toy gender neutral. The company later clarified that it was only dropping the “Mr.” from the toy brand, and that it would still distinguish between Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head. 

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