Born out of transgender activism, the new ‘pregnant man’ emoji

A pregnant man emoji is set to be introduced after a row over transgender representation in the phone symbols.

The icon has been proposed alongside a host of other more inclusive symbols to be released by the Unicode Consortium, the organisation that oversees the world’s official emoji index.

As well as the pregnant man, the updated list will include mixed racial handshakes for the first time as well as new hand gestures with different skin tones.

The inclusion of a pregnant man emoji comes after the organisation has faced heavy criticism in recent years from trans rights activists for its lack of representative symbols.

In 2018, many pointed out that there was an emoji for a lobster but not yet one for the transgender flag. The consortium introduced the flag last year and has since then brought in new symbols to ensure there are gender-neutral options for all facial and human icons, including a non-binary version of Santa.

In the latest tranche, Unicode revealed it is planning to release an icon in the next update of a man with a moustache cradling a pregnant belly.

Emojipedia, the reference website and a voting member of the Unicode Consortium, said the new pregnant emoji recognise "that pregnancy is possible for some transgender men and non-binary people".

"It is yet to be confirmed which emojis are in the final version of Emoji 14.0. The final version is likely to resemble this draft list, and no new emojis will be added at this stage," Emojipedia said. 

The final list of approved emoji will be announced in September, and is expected to roll out to the public in 2022.

The list sets the template from which tech giants, such as Apple and Google, design the emojis that appear on their devices.

The new draft emoji list also includes a coral icon for the first time, which Emojipedia said was a common symbol around the discussion of climate change, and is joined by a range of new versions of the popular yellow face emoji, including a melting face, saluting face, the face holding back tears and a face that cannot bear to watch.

A low battery, identification card, a mirror ball and biting lip icons also appear on the list.

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