Transgender flag emoji — brief info and current status

Earlier this year, a group I am lucky enough to belong to submitted an official proposal to the Unicode Consortium regarding the inclusion of a transgender flag emoji.

Aside from yours truly; a software development consultant based in Berlin, the group includes among others Ted Eytan MD of Washington DC, Tea Uglow; creative director at Google and Monica Helms, the creator of the Transgender Flag.

Ted has maintained a very good documentation of the history of our proposal; both on his Twitter Moments feed and on his blog.

The Technicalities

Our current proposal describes a combination of characters (called a SWJ sequence) forming a single Emoji without adding a new specific codepoint, in the same way as the current rainbow flag (🏳️‍🌈), which is a combination of 🏳 and 🌈, glued together with a so–called Zero–Width–Joiner.

In our case, we combine the White Flag and the symbol with the flag character in the same way to form the transgender flag.

This is a complete rewrite of an earlier proposal which was rejected due to certain technicalities like how it requests a specific codepoint and how it did not function as a technical proposal in general according to Unicode’s guidelines.

We also went into how this can be extended upon in the future; including how other flags relating to gender and sexual identities can be included in the future and how their inclusion will not require a new codepoint, as all their building blocks are included in Unicode already.

The Current Status

The proposal was already been submitted in March 2018, but we have not heard anything directly from the Unicode Consortium about the current status of the proposal or which changes may be needed.

No minutes relating to the proposal have been published and nothing can be found in their document register for this year.

What we do know however is there seem to be two similar proposals for a Transgender Flag Emoji according to Unicode’s Emoji Request list. One is labelled added to larger set and the other as needs modification — and we have no idea which one is ours because the Unicode Technical Committee has not communicated anything with us since the submission.

Recent Events

A recent petition, pressuring The Unicode Consortium to include the flag has gone viral in the past day or so. This simply confirms the fact that the inclusion of the flag is long overdue.

However, implementing a collection of new Emoji symbols takes a whole lot of coordination. Unicode and Emoji needs to be versioned, coordination with vendors needs to happen etc.

This takes time — and we (the group proposing the trans flag’s inclusion in Emoji) is reaching out to the Unicode Technical Committee regarding the current status of the proposal and the inclusion of the Transgender Flag.

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