Transgender flag emoji are being introduced to devices around the world as part of the Unicode … [+]
An Adobe employee with expertise in fonts is behind the win of making what may be the most universal language in the world – emojis – more gender-sensitive.
Paul D. Hunt is the designer and creator of the latest gender-specific emojis, which are now available on almost all devices around the world.
They are part of the latest ‘Unicode 13’ emojis, a series of standards released earlier this year by the Unicode Consortium, an organization that sets rules for tech companies that use special characters like emoji.
Hunt is a font designer and developer at Adobe. For personal reasons, to make all emoji more gender specific, they submitted plans to the Unicode consortium.
“I decided to advocate for gender-specific emoji because, as a queer person, I wanted to give my gender-specific and non-binary people more visibility,” says Hunt. “I wanted them to have better ways of representing their identity and appearance in the emoji system.”
And the gender neutral emoji set is launched along with another big gender emoji victory. After several years of representation in the Unicode consortium for several years, the transgender flag was also introduced this year.
“When people see little pink, white and blue flags in the texts and biographies of friends and families, I hope that more and more people will recognize and acknowledge that some of their loved ones are also transgender.”
The global non-profit organization has great power and sets international standards for the use of signs. This also means that once a year they decide which new emojis should be published generally and be available on all devices. In one fell swoop, not only did they give Hunt’s pitch the green light, but they also sent a glimmer of hope to devices everywhere.
“I hope that people who see their friends and family use gendered emoji to represent themselves create goodwill for those of us who do not identify as exclusively masculine or strongly feminine.”
At the same time, they may have delivered something that will have a longer-term impact by providing a more inclusive, gender-neutral emoji as an international standard. It’s the kind of action that is part of a much needed change in dialogue about how we all view transgender and gender malefactors.
“Gender inclusive emoji are an attempt to remove as much gender-specific clues as possible to show that we are all human at heart,” says Hunt.
“Ever since androgynous emoji were introduced, I’ve been using these representations regularly when referring to myself. In a way, I’ve asked that these emoji be made for me so that I can see myself represented in the emoji symbol system. “
July 09, 2020, Berlin: Various emojis are displayed on a tablet. From now more than 3000 … [+]
dpa / image alliance via Getty Images
How New Gender Emoji Can Help Change Attitudes About Gender Deviations
Far too many of us look at transgender and gender-abuse people just by looking after the transition.
For example, some of us think we know that all trans women look slightly masculine. But that’s not true.
Additionally, many people confuse gender and gender, or use the two interchangeably. But there is a distinct difference. Gender identity is a living, growing experience that can change over time. While sex is the classification of a person as male, female, or intersex.
As such, the expression of gender is both individual and fluid. And that was the core of Hunt’s representation before the Unicode consortium:
“The original Unicode guide was to create all emoji that weren’t specifically gender neutral. However, when creating emoji representations for people, the designers didn’t have good guidance on how this might actually look.
“To me, ‘gender neutral’ means a certain amount of abstraction. From my point of view, only the yellow smilies are really gender neutral. With my advocacy of “gender-specific” representation, I wanted to try to provide options for a humanized appearance. One that may be acceptable to portray a human without having visual cues that are usually only associated with gender.
“I think after using this language sufficiently in my documentation and in my conversations with people at Unicode. We have built an understanding of what an open gender option should be for anyone who wants to choose it. “
And not only is this a strange win from Hunts, it’s the introduction of the orange heart emoji. The introduction enabled all six colors of the Gilbert Baker Rainbow Flag, an internationally recognized symbol for LGBTQ people, to be displayed in hearts. Popular with Twitter and Instagram captions by LGBTQ users.
“For me, inclusivity requires a commitment to the importance of respecting diversity within and between different cultures. In my opinion, the best way to involve others is to consider others’ needs and to realize that we need more options than just pink for girls and blue for boys.
“At least we should have more unisex and gender-neutral options in all areas of experience – from fashion to emoji to life opportunities. Committing to diversity means being able to recognize the differences in the world, but also to be able to see beyond them. To see how we are all human and have more in common than differences. “
“For anyone about to fly your own trans emoji flag, I hope you know you will be seen. I hope you feel supported. I hope you find the ones you will love because you are brave enough to live your truth. “