My Thoughts on Emoji Recently Added, v11.0, without #Transvisibility, without full #LGBTQ inclusion

I wrote this probably-cryptic tweet, that I would follow up on in this blog post.

Version 11.0 of Emoji has been released, link below. It includes symbols like

  • “woman supervillain”
  • “man, red haired”
  • “peacock”
  • “moon cake”
  • “luggage”

Source: Emoji Recently Added, v11.0

Still no inclusion of transgender or intersex symbols, or the transgender pride flag.

We knew these symbols wouldn’t be included this round, because our proposal, submitted in July, 2017, and then re-submitted in December, 2017, was returned with questions, which we’re in the process of answering:

What Does Google Trends Tell Us About A Proposal for a Future Valid Emoji Sequence for Transgender Visibility?

It’s been a great experience to see how symbols are proposed and adopted by @Unicode. It’s a complex process because of all the technologies and vendors that need to integrate the code and graphics into their systems, so it takes awhile.

The data above shows that there’s good support for full LGBTQ inclusion, and at the same time, we should always be wary of inclusion based on numbers. Design based on the needs of the majority limits innovation.

Universal Design – The Example of Luggage

Speaking of luggage…

When was the last time you physically carried a piece of luggage vs rolling? You can thank universal design principles for that – the curb cut or the wheelchair ramp supports better design for everyone.

The new luggage emoji, by the way, sports wheels. Thank the minority for the benefit to the majority.

Reviewing the Unicode proposal for luggage and noting the uproar that accompanied a lack of luggage emoji on Twitter used to argue for it gives a glimpse into this process.


WERK for Consent- A Queer and Trans Dance Protest 2757
Noting: It’s the transgender pride flags. WERK for Consent- A Queer and Trans Dance Protest 2757 (View on

While there is a rainbow pride flag emoji, which we are thankful for (and was approved in what I would call a “non-rigorous process”), it doesn’t compass the LGBTQ communities that exist today.

I am biased because I live in Washington, DC, which has the highest percentage of transgender (and also LGBTQ) humans in the United States: 2.8% vs 0.6% in New York or California. We are fortunate to experience the innovation and happiness that comes from being in the most inclusive city in the world šŸ™‚ .

2017.11.11 National Transgender Health Summit, Oakland, CA USA 0433
Washington, DC, Enjoying the future proportionally more than the rest of the United States šŸ™‚ – 2017.11.11 National Transgender Health Summit, Oakland, CA USA 0433 (View on

Interestingly, what we’re seeing recently is the absence of the rainbow pride flag in community events, replaced with the transgender pride flag. It corroborates the data above, with my experience, that members of LGBTQ communities are looking more and more to be better allies and colleagues to our transgender colleagues as representatives of the LGBTQ equality/life movement.

The photo above provides a great example.

Hope will never stay silent šŸ™‚

We’re revising our proposal for a 3rd time to answer the questions posed of us regarding these symbols.

I understand that constructing emoji symbols is more efficient if they are not built from scratch, e.g. they combine code from existing symbols to create combination. We believe that can be done by adding the transgender and intersex symbols as a beginning. Currently only the binary “male” and binary “female” symbols exist in the emoji character set. But not in nature, science, or medicine – we see and take care of people across the gender spectrum every day.

More information is linked below. We’re beginning the planning for Capital TransPride (@TransPrideDC) now, which reminds me of the value of including all of the voices that make the sky, the land, the water, our cities, families, and friends full of meaningful connections to people who teach us something new every day.

Proposed Transgender Pride Flag Symbol

Ted Eytan, MD