Pirates are welcome, but not transgender people, according to Apple’s latest software update. The computing giant has released 70 new emoji to iOS 12.1 — but some were hoping for 71.
Absent from the update is a transgender flag emoji, a move that many activists were pushing for.
Apple tends to follow the recommendations of the Unicode Consortium, the organization behind these popular symbols. Yet, in spite of a petition that currently boasts over 3,200 signatures, the Unicode Consortium has refused to budge on the inclusion of the trans flag.
They have added several other symbols, ranging from balls of yarn, a roll of toilet paper, and even a germ — but transgender people remain underrepresented.
The selection of emoji has added two additional flags to its already substantial collection, including the United Nations flag and a pirate flag to its rolls.
The new series also includes the lobster icon. The lobster was pushed by several in the New England states, arguing that it was necessary to have.
Senator Angus King of Maine in particular pushed for that addition, saying, “Neither the existing crab nor shrimp emoji can be effectively used to represent a lobster, which has a distinctively different profile.”
Activist and artist Charlie Craggs responded to the inclusion of the lobster over a trans flag on the NailIt project site, saying, “Unicode granted the Lobster emoji proposal, which argued that people suffered ‘frustration and confusion’ at having to use a shrimp or crab emoji instead of a lobster.”
“Imagine if that was your gender,” they added.
Craggs also argued that the transgender community should adopt the crustacean as its own, given that lobsters often end up gynandromorphs, displaying sexual characteristic of both male and female genders.
In a move that was hailed by many activists, the Unicode Consortium and Apple both included a pride flag emoji in their iOS 10 update. Ditto for a series of gender-neutral emoji — and, at last, an orange heart, allowing users to present a full series pride flag colored hearts — that came included in the iOS 11 update.