Google is releasing 53 new gender-neutral emojis for its Pixel smartphones, according to Fast Company. The emojis will be available for other Android phones later in the year.
Vampires, swimmers, zombies and a list of other emojis that feature male and female options will now have another choice in the middle. The gender-neutral emojis have subtle changes in clothing and hairstyles to be more inclusive of non-gender conforming communities.
“Gender is complicated,” Google designer Jennifer Daniel, said to Fast Company.
Daniel also serves on the Unicode Consortium, the organization that sets international standards for emojis.”
“It is an impossible task to communicate gender in a single image. It’s a construct. It lives dynamically on a spectrum. I personally don’t believe there is one visual design solution at all, but I do believe to avoid it is the wrong approach here,” Daniel said to Fast Company.
Other developers have also petitioned the Unicode Consortium to be more inclusive by offering more hairstyle options for Black people. Rhianna Jones and Kerrilyn Gibson want to have Afromojis in Unicode’s 2020 slate of emojis, but the duo still has a few hurdles to get through. Their effort highlights one of the various ways people are pushing for emojis to reflect the world and the people in it.
“We can’t avoid race, gender, any other number of things in culture and class. You have to stare it in the face in order to understand it,” Daniel said to Fast Company. “That’s what we’re trying to do–to [find] the signifiers that make something feel either male or female, or both male and female.”