Unicode Consortium, the organization responsible for the creation and standardization of emojis across devices globally, has revealed its latest slate of upcoming images. The Emoji 14.0 keyboard update, which will be confirmed in September 2021 and rolled out starting in October, includes a number of new expressions for that iconic round yellow face, and several new hand gestures (including the “finger heart” popularized over the last 10 years in South Korea).
Most notably, the new range of proposed emojis include a more diverse set of figures to represent pregnancy. At present, there is only one pregnant emoji available on smartphones, and it depicts a woman; a limited illustration of a biological process that is experienced by individuals of all gender identities. This update is therefore more gender-inclusive, with emojis that can be used to more accurately reflect the lives of transgender men who are pregnant, as well as pregnant people who identify as nonbinary or gender-fluid.
This is the latest in a series of measures Unicode has taken to make the emoji keyboard more inclusive. Previous efforts have largely revolved around ethnicity, broadening the array of skin-tones available, rather than accepting white (or “emoji yellow”) as the default, and also updating its couple emojis to acknowledge interracial relationships.
This new update is a similar attempt to move away from the idea of a gender default, and assumptions that the person using a smartphone is cis. The new emoji keyboard will also expand on Unicode’s existing “prince” and “princess” imagery, with a non-gendered “person in crown” option.
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