On February 3, I submitted the first proposal for the Bisexual Pride Flag Emoji. During this time, I was also consulting with friends and the pioneers behind the transgender flag emoji. Based upon the feedback I received, I resubmitted an updated proposal on February 5. On February 11, I noticed the proposal listed on the Unicode Requests page. Here is the latest version of the proposal.
Despite emoji being a universal language used everyday by people all around the world, a handful of people in San Francisco at the Unicode Consortium decide the fate of new emojis. The Unicode Emoji Subcommittee accepts proposals for new emoji based upon criteria like is the emoji distinguishable at its small size, does the emoji contribute to the conversation, and will a large amount of people likely use the new emoji. They have a template for submitting a proposal, and each point is addressed in the proposal I submitted.
Once I received confirmation that my proposal was received, I waited, anxiously. The transgender flag took 4 years, a team of people from around the world, and intense public pressure. There was even a documentary video on YouTube about the process they had to go through. I had written the proposal in less than a day and couldn’t find a single article from a reputable source advocating for a bisexual flag emoji.
On March 24, I received a reply from the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee:
They provided no reason for the rejection, which indicates that despite following their guidelines for the proposal, they didn’t see the bisexual community deserving an emoji to express themselves. Yet, even pirates have a flag (🏴☠️).
I knew this wouldn’t be easy from the start. The transgender flag emoji required multiple submissions, a team of people, and intense media coverage. I was the only person who worked on this first submission. That may have been a mistake, but I wanted to submit the proposal in time for the deadline.
So, what’s next? To move forward, I think it’s best to recruit some more people in this effort, talk strategy, and try to get some media coverage. The more attention we can bring to this, the more pressure we can put on Unicode. Ultimately, I want to submit the proposal again, but we need to come back stronger than before. If you want to help this happen, please reach out. Together, we can bring visibility to bisexual people everywhere.
Update: March 30, 2020
Someone shared with me that there is a bisexual flag emoji in Skype. This is great for bi visibility and supports our iniative. When companies begin implementing emojis on their own when Unicode fails to do so, it adds pressure for Unicode to act. Shoutout to Skype for leading with us and their inclusion of several pride flag emojis.