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World Emoji Day 2019: Apple celebrate with an LGBTI-inclusive update

World Emoji Day 2019: Apple celebrate with an LGBTI-inclusive update

interracial LGBTI couple emojis

It is a truly holy and sacred day today, one so icon-ic that billions of phones indirectly celebrate it each passing year.

Marked by a certain symbol on your smart phone keyboard (📅), 17 July is World Emoji Day. Named after the calendar emoji that displays the same date. A true divine prophecy.

Now in its sixth year, Apple is celebrating the day by previewing a bunch of new emojis. And it seems that for 2019, emojis are only getting more diverse and LGBTI-inclusive.

Why are emojis important?

Unicode is responsible for defining which emojis make onto all platforms, including Apple and Android devices and computers.

Since their first use in 1999 Japan to today, these colorful characters changed how we interact with people online and over text.

But they also became a way of how we see ourselves. How we feel represented in the world.

We've come a long way since <3 in the world of emojis | Picture: Josh Milton
We’ve come a long way since <3 | Picture: Josh Milton

Back in 2016, emojis started to knuckle down and get political. A Pride flag was rolled out, giving LGBTIs a way to decorate their Pride Instagram posts as well as, ultimately, feeling represented.

But it was also year that the firearm emoji was subbed for a wholesome water pistol⁠—a damning reaction to escalating gun violence in the US⁠—and single-parent family emojis and female athletes sprinted into keyboards.

That’s why 2019 has seen people petitioning for emojis like themselves. Mainly, from the LGBTI community.

What emojis are in the new update?

In the new update set for October, there will be gender-diverse couple emojis as well as interracial couple emojis. All holding hands.

Interracial emojis
Picture: Unicode Consortium
Eight of the 16 different combos of the gender neutral emojis
Gender-neutral couple emojis| Picture: Unicode Consortium

According to Unicode, the emojis will be available in 16 different skin tone combinations.

Apple will list the gender neutral ‘People holding hands’ emoji under the Family category.

As a result, all the combinations of gender, race, and look tally up around 75 combinations.

Disabled people will be better represented, too 

Not just that, but queer disabled folk will find themselves better represented, too.

Many of the disability-related emojis were actually proposed to Unicode by Apple | Picture: Apple
Many of the disability-related emoji were actually proposed to Unicode by Apple | Picture: Apple

Characters in different types of wheelchair, in addition to designs showing a partially-sighted person with a cane and a deaf person are among the new designs.

Moreover, as well as the blind person and retractable cane, available in 12 different versions, there’s the hearing aid, in six skin tone variants, and two different wheelchairs, each available in 12 versions which vary gender and skin color.

Another hearing-related emoji shows someone pointing at their ear, available in 12 versions.

Is there a trans flag, though?

However, the trans community has struggled.

While a glitch in the coding system allows users to post one, a trans flag remains unseen in updates.

Despite sloths, skunks, and safety vests becoming emojis this Fall, the trans flag remains to be seen.

Although, according to Emojipedia, a database of all things emoji, UniCode designers have drafted a ‘blue, pink, and white flag.’ Making it a potential candidate for the next emoji release (Emoji 13.0).

If approved, the trans flag will finally be a part of the emoji ecosystem in 2020.

What is World Emoji Day?

Emoji Day is celebrated annually on 17 July.

Emojipedia’s Jeremy Burge founded the day, a year after the Oxford Dictionary added it as an official word.

He chose 17 July because this is the date the calendar emoji on the Apple keyboard displays.

See also