My name is Erik (he/him), I’m gay, and I’ve been a LEGO® fan since I was a kid. My dad and I bonded over LEGO building when I grew old enough to inherit his childhood collection, and I spent countless hours building and playing with those classic sets. There was a time in middle and high school where I thought I’d grown out of LEGO building, but I was keeping up with the LEGO videogames, and when LEGO Dimensions came out it reignited my love for the brick. From there I bought a few modular buildings to give my minifigs a place to live, and I haven’t looked back since!<br>
Tell us about the AFOL LGBTQIA+ community. What have you gained from being part of the group?
The AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO) community is generally an encouraging and accepting place, and I love being a part of it! But I especially love that there are queer-friendly spaces for LEGO fans where we can gather and enjoy our builds and ideas without worrying that our identities will be cause for backlash. My favorite spaces for like-minded builders are GayFOLs (a Facebook group for any and all LGBTQIA+ and allied LEGO fans) and the Women’s Brick Initiative (a group committed to inspiring, supporting and empowering women and girls in the community). I always feel welcome and supported in these groups – they’ve taught me new techniques, shown me new points of view, and helped me make connections with so many other LEGO fans.
What role do you believe companies can play when it comes to supporting the LGBTQIA+ community?
If a company wants to support the LGBTQIA+ community, that support should come in the form of words and actions, both public and private. Internally, companies should foster a work environment where their LGBTQIA+ employees feel safe and valued. Externally, they should engage with and support the LGBTQIA+ community through actions like education and donations. It’s important that a company stands by its values, even out of the public eye. When I see the efforts the LEGO Group makes to celebrate Pride Month it makes me proud to be a part of the community!
How do you use creativity as a tool for self-expression?
I express my creativity in the form of custom minifigs. LEGO has given us so many amazing minifig pieces and I love finding new ways to use them. For almost two years now I’ve been using my collection to create and share minifigs of people who entertain and inspire me – celebrities, superheroes and so on. I especially love sharing queer characters from media, putting a diverse spin on mainstream media or sharing minifigs of members of the AFOL community – like the US contestants of LEGO Masters!<br>
How and where are you celebrating Pride Month this year? What does Pride Month mean to you?
When I was in the process of coming out, it was encouraging to see brands, celebrities and everyday people show their support for the LGBTQIA+ community. It gave me hope to know there were strangers ready to accept me for who I was, at a time when I feared that my family and friends wouldn’t. Pride Month represented a time every year when I could see other queer people celebrate who they were. This year I’ll mostly be celebrating safely at home or with a small group of chosen family, but I’ll be continuing my tradition of sharing minifigs of LGBTQIA+ characters, celebrities and icons. I’m looking forward to the future when we can celebrate in larger gatherings, and I’m excited to meet more LGBTQIA+ LEGO fans at conventions!