By Josh Saunders
A campaign to have an emoji created to represent the trans community has racked up nearly 1,500 signatures in a week.
Within seven days, the petition on change.org for a ‘trans flag’ icon went viral after being claimed to be one of the ‘most requested emojis’.
It was launched by Charlie Craggs, a trans activist and author, and Revolt, a strategy consultancy specialising in social movement to drive change in the world.
They hope Unicode, who make decision on which emojis are created, will make the design to represent the trans community and in the meantime are embracing the recently approved ‘lobster emoji’.
The activists have wrote: ‘Until we get our flag we’re hijacking the lobster making it the unofficial, official trans symbol.’
The crustacean chosen to embody The Claws Out For Trans campaign, can be gynandromorphic – when an organism has both male and female characteristics.
Olly Mitchell, a brand consultant at Revolt from London, said: “In today’s world emojis play such an important role in the way we communicate.
“Having visibility on digital platforms is vital to give representation to a community that has previously struggled to have its voice heard.
“A trans flag emoji would bring the transgender community into the conversation, which can only have a positive impact on people’s understanding and attitudes.
“To achieve over 1,400 signatures on the petition in the first week has been a great start but we know we have plenty of work to do.
“We’ll keep working hard to recruit as many trans allies as possible so we can create significant change.
“We were at Trans Pride in Brighton last weekend wearing various lobster outfits and we lots of people coming up asking about the campaign.
“Everyone was extremely positive and our conversations since last weekend with the trans community, influencers and wider media has only reinforced that positivity.”
The word ‘emoji’ stems from Japanese, with ‘e’ meaning ‘picture’ and ‘moji’ meaning ‘character’.
They surged to fame on SMS messaging and social media sites including Facebook, Instagram and others.
The campaign for a representative emoji was partly launched by Charlie Craggs, founder of beauty brand Nail It.
Prior to the petition, she travelled around the country for five years offering free manicures, so that the public could sit down with a trans person – leading her to win numerous awards.
The team say their work has been received ‘incredibly well’ so far and the trans flag should be instated as is the most requested flag emoji two years in a row.
Recently, a Lobster emoji was created after people suffered ‘frustration and confusion’ at being forced to use the shrimp or crab emoji instead.
Campaign believe there is ‘hypocrisy’ in their being a lobster emoji but not one to represent the trans community, hoping when it’s implemented it will bring more support and discussion of trans rights.
Olly said: “Violence towards women is increasing. And trans women are affected more than anyone.
“As transgender women have become more visible in the public eye, we’ve seen a corresponding increase in the incidences of physical abuse towards them.
“At Revolt we decided we wanted to put an end to this so we approached Charlie Craggs, trans activist and author, to see how we could work together to tackle this issue.
“Our first fight is for trans visibility, which led us to the Claws Out For Trans campaign.”
To sign the petition visit: www.change.org/p/unicode-unicode-google-and-facebook-why-is-there-still-no-trans-flag-emoji