A lesbian app hopes to fix Apple’s emoji diversity problem – but it’s just the start

“Emoji have become the quickest, funniest way of expressing ourselves. They are even used by academics to share their research. But is it possible to include the wide range of diverse human experience inside the confines of a keyboard?” Oscar Raymundo reports for The Daily Dot. “In 2012 with the rollout of its iOS 6, Apple caught up with the times and included two new emoji representing same-sex couples of both genders holding hands. However, these emoji left much to be desired for queer users, as LGBT culture encompasses more than just smiling paired-up lovebirds.”

“So graphic designer Kimberly Linn has taken it into her own hands to rectify the situation by creating more diverse emoji that she could better relate to,” Raymundo reports. “She has designed about 50 emoji inspired by lesbian culture and tongue-in-cheek stereotypes, including a U-Haul truck and a DVD cover of The L Word. The lesbian-themed emoji were first released on Instagram and got enough positive feedback that Linn’s employer, the ad agency Pitch, decided to fund the project to become a standalone app as part of their employee creative incubator. ‘Lesbian Emoji’ are now available as a free app on the Apple Store”

“One argument against emoji being included to represent all the different colors of the rainbow would be that it would become over bloated, with users having to scroll through pages and pages of emoji just to find the right one. But that is already the case. There are currently so many emoji that are seldomly used or have any real-life applications,” Raymundo reports. “An ideal way to make up for all that the existing set of emoji is missing is to redesign how emoji are installed and let the users take the controls. Wouldn’t it be empowering to be able to quickly design and use our own custom emoji, tailored to each person’s own life experience? That way we could create all types of people emoji in all sorts of situations, like a black leather daddy helping his wheelchair-bound friend move using a U-Haul truck. If Apple wants to fix its racism, disability, and LGBT issues, it’s time to finally give the power to the people.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yeah, Apple, where’s your iEmoji app?


  1. The emoj images is based on an international standard. If any group is missing, I hardly think it would be very easy to fix. This is not a Apple problem. It’s higher up than that. Remember these fonts have to work on all devices.

    1. Yes, because the phone doesn’t transmit the graphic emoji, just a code that matches a code and matching graphic already on the other person’s phone (and not just iPhone)
      To use custom emoji’s, or the 50 created by Kimberly, one must use a custom app that both parties must already have installed.
      The other option is just to transmit the graphic as MMS, or iMessage. Apps like BigEmoji do this.

      Again, this is an international standard that needs to be compatible on all phones, Apple does not have racism, disability, or LGBT issues.

  2. I do not use emoji often, but when I do I still only use the following five:
    1) smile 🙂
    2) winky smile 😉
    3) rolled eyes 8|
    4) crazy %|
    5) facepalm (can not depict with regular font).

    Countless others are excessive.

    1. WordPress does have:

      1) Rolled eyes. 🙄 You can type it out as colon :, then ‘roll’, then colon :. No spaces.

      2) Crazy, sort of. There’s ‘shock’ 8-O, ‘evil’ 👿 and ‘twisted’ :twisted:. To make them, but each of those words in between colons :. But I personally prefer the Asian emoticon version of crazy, which uses a small o for one eye and either capital O or zero 0 for the other eye. You can switch eyes as you desire. For example:
      Using a monospaced font makes the use of zero 0 for one eye look best as it will have a line through the zero character making the emoticon look extra deranged. :mrgreen:

      For facepalm, nothing beats:

  3. Diversity problem? People do realize that ’emoji’ (not emoticons) originated and were popularized in Japan, right? That’s a country where 99.9 percent of the population are Japanese. Not white, not black, not fill in the blank. It isn’t as though they come from the white male overlord emoji factory. Ye gods, people can be stupid. :/

    1. I’m not sure what’s your point. I don’t think anyone here questioned the origins of emoji, how it came about and who created it. All they wanted was to add the emoji relevant to their life.

      As for Apple, the problem really isn’t theirs, as someone above already mentioned.

    1. LOL! I think this emoji ‘ME TOO!’ stuff is getting into the realm of ‘Where Does It End!?’ Much as I support the ERA, sexuality, human diversity, equality for all… stuffing everything into a graphics font as if it’s any kind of statement about humanity, and not just a fun novelty, is too much. It sounds loon-level-liberal to me. Lighten up.

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