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Why trans activists are hijacking the lobster emoji

'Surely we deserve the same rights you have afforded crustaceans?'

Sarah Young
Thursday 02 August 2018 13:42 BST
Lobsters against Transphobia

It’s 2018 and there’s an emoji for just about everything you can think of, from sushi to paper clips and even archaic floppy disks.

But, while Unicode – the body that decides which emojis appear on our keyboards – has managed to create a whole host of seemingly pointless symbols for us to have fun with, those in high-demand remain completely overlooked.

Case in point: the transgender flag.

Despite being the most requested emoji for two years in a row, Unicode has failed to create an image for the blue, white and pink flag and now people have had enough of waiting.

That’s exactly why activist, nail artist and author of To My Trans Sisters, Charlie Craggs, has started a campaign which criticises Unicode for introducing a lobster emoji this year, while simultaneously disregarding calls for the transgender flag.

“Every year the trans flag is one of the most requested emojis, yet every year Unicode opt for things like soup cans, toboggans and sad poops over our flag, something that people actually want and that actually matters,” Craggs tells The Independent.

Charlie Craggs is using her brand Nail It to improve trans visibility (Charlie Craggs/Nail It)

“For unicode to ignore our community is almost like a form of erasure and stinks of transphobia, they see the proposals every year, they know its been the most requested emoji the last couple of years, yet they still think soup cans are more important and worthy than us.”

The new campaign, Claws Out For Trans, is encouraging people to sign its petition and use the lobster emoji as much as possible to show Unicode just how much the transgender flag emoji would be used if they created one.

Aside from being the latest addition to the emoji keyboard, there is another reason the trans community is deciding to commandeer the lobster specifically.

 The Claws Out For Trans campaign is hijacking the lobster emoji (Charlie Craggs/Nail It)

“Lobsters are low-key kinda trans, they are gynandromorphic (can have both male and female characteristics) so until we get our own trans symbol we're hijacking the lobster and making that our symbol,” Craggs explains.

A nail artist who has travelled around the country for the last five years offering the public free manicures for a chance to sit down with a trans person, Craggs believes that the campaign is about much more than just emojis.

“Flags (unlike soup cans. toboggans and sad poops) are a way of expressing identity and feeling part of a community and emojis are also used for these two things.

Jamie Windust is a non-binary activist involved in the campaign (Charlie Craggs/Nail It)

“Social media platforms like Instagram are a vital way of marginalised communities, like the trans community, to connect with each other and represent themselves.

“The introduction of a trans flag emoji would help enable this. But on a deeper level, representation is so important, I know (as a trans person myself) how validating it is to feel represented and included.”

To support the Claws Out For Trans campaign, you can post pictures on social media using the lobster emoji and hashtag #ClawsOutForTrans, and sign the petition here.

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