With all of the success of the Pride movement and the LGBT community, we deserve to celebrate! We post tweets and instagram pictures, and we hang our flag proudly outside of our house. We go back to our phones to text our loved ones about the happy news, and let’s be honest, we have smiley faces, cakes, confetti and same-sex couples holding hands as emoji’s to send. But there’s something missing: where’s the Pride flag?
The history of the Pride flag is rich with meaning. The flag was created by Gilbert Baker at the request of Harvey Milk, the famous openly-gay San Francisco City-County Supervisor. The flag was debuted on June 25, 1978 for the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade.
Before this flag was debuted, the gay rights community had other signs that were less than desireable, including the upside down pink triangle. The pink triangle is a widely recognized symbol for the gay community, with its roots in the WWII era. German law prohibited homosexual relations, but in 1935, Hitler revised this law to include kissing, embracing, gay fantasies and sexual acts. Anyone convicted of these homosexual acts were sent to concentration camps, “sterilized” which really meant castrated, and even sentenced to death.
While several people use the pink triangle to remember these awful times, the gay community of the 70’s wanted a flag to symbolize hope among their other values. The current Pride flag features the colors of the rainbow, but the original flag included hot pink and turquoise, which had to be dropped for logistical reasons. Each color represented different aspects of the gay rights movement: pink stood for sexuality, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sun, green for nature, turquoise for art, indigo for harmony and violet for spirit. Sometimes a black stripe is included to commemorate victims of AIDS.
The history and meaning of the flag alone seem to be reasons enough to have it as an emoji. Now with the gay rights movement really taking stride, the Pride flag deserves to be an official emoji.
In a TNW news article, “Will the LGBT rainbow flag become an official emoji? You can affect the debate”, Owen Williams outlines some of the logistical issues Unicode Consortium are debating over the Pride flag emoji.
Some members think that adding the Pride flag would lead to several other social movement flags being added. The argument against that is the food emoji argument: if you have a donut, then ice cream, burgers, fries and coke will want to join the mix too. But that didn’t stop them from adding several food emoji’s, and honestly, what’s the big deal about adding social movement flags anyway? Maybe it’s a money/time issue or whatever, but that shouldn’t stop this company from recognizing the significance of the Pride flag in this historical movement.
Another argument against adding the flag is that there is not an encoding mechanism in place for social movement flags-only political ones. So there is no logical place to put it. I know that kind of thing must matter to the company, but I’m thinking, “Who cares where you put it? Just give us access to it!” Plus, if the argument above is true, they should just set up a new category for social movement flag emojis.
Okay, I know I may be showing my lack of knowledge about emoji encoding, but in all seriousness, there is no reason for this company to deny creating the Pride flag. In William’s article, he tells you how you can send the company a message requesting them to make the emoji flag. It’s really easy.
Click on this link: http://www.unicode.org/reporting.html
Scroll down to the message box and fill in your name, email and subject (I put “Pride Emoji Request” as my subject).
Then on the drop down options for “Type of Message” select “Public Review Issue, or Beta”.
Then write your message! It doesn’t have to be long. Just tell them that you want the Pride flag emoji and why.
Click send, and you’re done!