Transgender flag among new emoji approved for 2020

The transgender flag, a woman in a tuxedo, and a gender-neutral alternative to Santa Claus will all be represented in new emojis to be released in 2020.

In total, 117 new characters and images have been approved for addition to the emoji library, regulator the Unicode Consortium announced.

Last year, a number of same-sex couple and gender-neutral emoji were added to the library to improve representation, but there was criticism over the non-inclusion of the transgender flag – which has now been added alongside the transgender symbol.

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The Unicode Consortium’s list is the central bank of approved emoji, with companies including Apple, Google and Microsoft then applying stylised versions of the designs to their own operating systems.

The website Emojipedia, which is part of the Unicode Consortium and details icons found in updates, said: “Announced today by the Unicode Consortium, the 117 new emojis form part of Emoji 13.0 and will come to most platforms in the second half of 2020.

“Variations of existing emojis now approved for 2020 include a woman or gender-inclusive person in a tuxedo, as well as a gender-neutral person or a man in a veil. These, along with other approved emojis, will be coming to phones later this year.

“Also included in this update is a gender-inclusive alternative to Santa Claus and Mrs Claus, named Mx Claus. This addition is part of an ongoing effort to make more consistent set of gender options across the board, and expands upon the 138 new gender-neutral emojis added in late 2019 as part of Emoji 12.1.”

Emojipedia noted that some versions of the new emoji, including the transgender flag and the woman in a tuxedo, are already available on Twitter.

Jeff Ingold, head of media engagement at LGBT campaigns group Stonewall, said: “Taking action to make tools of communication, like emojis, more inclusive and diverse is always a welcome step.

“So we’re glad to see the inclusion of more gender-neutral emojis and a trans flag emoji. Visibility is really important and companies can always be thinking of more ways to promote trans equality.”

Also among the list of approved emoji is a ninja, a pinched finger gesture, a seal, a bison and a dodo.

No release dates have been confirmed for the emoji on different operating systems, although they are traditionally rolled out later in the year when new versions of Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android software are released to the public.

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