Emoji is a regular part of everyday online conversation now. Whether using the “joy” emoji to express that something has us dying in laughter, or the eggplant emoji for… nefarious uses, we’re all familiar with the good ol’ stuff. Now, we’re finally getting a fresh batch of new emoji to play with, officially released by the team behind Unicode!
It’s been nearly a year since the Unicode project gifted us new emoji to play with. That last delivery included mechanical arms and legs, a hearing aid, wheelchairs, ballet shoes, sloths, and so much more. This year’s new emoji also brings plenty to the table(t)!
Here are some of the best emoji to look out for, to get you started before the update happens across mobile phones.
Transgender Pride Flag
The transgender pride flag, created just over 20 years ago by Monica Helms, is now a staple in queer spaces. And it’s about time that Unicode recognizes it! After all, a Black trans woman threw the first brick at Stonewall. Pride is nothing without its trangender brothers, sisters, and siblings otherwise. Now, we can finally officially recognize transgender friends in group chats!
For a while, we had mostly food representation from American and Asian cultures. Now, we have the tamale, a staple of South American and Mexican-American cuisine. It’s also a great reminder that our queer transgender siblings of color deserve their time in the spotlight. So keep them in your thoughts, and don’t forget to take off the husk before you dig in!
Are you a chef, expressing your opinions loudly Gordon Ramsay? Do you have the flair of an Italian, speaking with your hands? Or are you just gonna *chef’s kiss* share a good freakin’ thread about the history of non-binary peeps in transgender communities? Because the white stripe, after all, is for non-binary people! That’s the good shit, right there. Mwah.
This sign has plenty of uses! Finally, a great symbol for union groups. Or, you can use it next to the “rules” on your queer gamer group on Discord. Maybe you can put it as a reminder that there’s always more work to be done in order to push for transgender rights. Don’t forget that health care is a trans rights issue, so transitioning peeps don’t have to rely on GoFundMe due to the financial disadvantage that anti-transgender impose. Get active!
You’re definitely going to use this to talk about your Boy Scout days. Mhm.
Smiling Face With Tear
Sometimes you just need to cry tears of joy. And that’s fantastic! I, too, like to think of the day when people won’t discriminate based on gender, or when more protections will be put into place. Or, I’ll cry tears of joy when one of my friends comes out as queer publicly or to their family, especially with how dangerous transphobes have become. It’s a brave moment for them, and I’ll spam this emoji to that.
Finally, a hugging emoji that isn’t just awkward hands that imply you’re hugging! Send this new emoji to your friends that you love, or in times where you want to send support. Or, you can put it as a reminder during Pride that it started in memorial of Stonewall. In fact, the Stonewall incident wasn’t just a “riot”—it was push-back on a coordinated police attack on a space, in an era when police actively cracked down on transgender-friendly spaces. We must similarly continue to support our trans family in times like this, and this emoji is perfect for that sentiment.
Finally, a heart emoji that’s not just, you know… Roman birth control, apparently? This anatomically-correct heart will get plenty of mileage for horror fans, bio students, and those with… I guess, heart disease, maybe. And what’s also anatomically correct is the body of those who identify with another gender! Uterus health isn’t just for cisgender women, and getting this fact right—and supporting reproductive rights—will improve health care for all. Plus, we should all see a cardiologist, because reality’s giving us all heart attacks, right!?
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The new emoji has gotten really good! There’s a nice realism to this one in particular. In fact, here, it’s really great that they truly pinned down the likeness of a transphobe. Very excited for the future of Unicode!
Bubble tea is just good and this is well overdue, especially for Asian users, who are some of the biggest consumers of modern technology. I’m sorry, I don’t have anymore trans rights jokes for this one, except that trans rights are human rights, and everyone should have the right to bubble tea occasionally. Just please, for the love of god, chew your boba at least a few times before you swallow it. Oh, and trans rights, around the world!