Why The Trans Community Is Hijacking The Lobster Emoji

Aside from maths and music, the closest thing we have to a universal language here on Earth is the emoji.

Those little pixelated images allow us to convey the entire spectrum of human emotions using nothing but our thumbs.

They help us to tell our mates what we're drinking, what we're doing or where we are with just a simple tap of the touchscreen. Doing a spot of curling? There's an emoji for that. Riding a cable car? Yup, there's one for that too. Having a bowel movement on a rollercoaster? Sure, you'll have to use two emojis, but you can still get your point across pretty effectively.

The sheer number of options is what makes this medium so perfect for communicating. And bearing that in mind, it seems somewhat ludicrous that the transgender community still remains unrepresented in emoji form.

Unicode is the body responsible for deciding which emojis appear on your keyboards. But despite having recently added a soup can, a lobster and an indeterminate leafy green vegetable to the roster, the trans flag is still nowhere to be seen. Even more shocking is when you learn that it's been the most requested addition for two years running.

That's where Charlie Craggs comes in.

Charlie is a trans activist and author, recognised as one of the most influential LGBT people in the UK. She is also the brains behind the award winning Nail Transphobia campaign, in which she travelled the country offering free manicures and the chance to speak to a trans person.

Most recently Charlie has launched a campaign calling out Unicode for its failure to include the flag in its collection.


"For unicode to ignore our community is almost like a form of erasure and stinks of transphobia," Craggs told the Independent. "They see the proposals every year, they know it's been the most requested emoji the last couple of years, yet they still think soup cans are more important and worthy than us."

That's why Charlie started Claws Out, to petition for people to use the lobster emoji as the 'unofficial, official trans symbol'. The cartoon crustacean is the latest obscure addition to the the keyboard and Charlie and her supporters hope that if enough people start using it, it will illustrate to Unicode just how popular a legitimate trans emoji would be.

And it works on another level too. "Lobsters are low-key kinda trans," Charlie explains. "They are gynandromorphic (can have both male and female characteristics) so until we get our own trans symbol we're hijacking the lobster."

The inclusion of the transgender flag as an emoji, says Charlie, would be another milestone, giving trans people another place where they feel represented.

"Representation is so important," Charlie told the Independent. "I know (as a trans person myself) how validating it is to feel represented and included."

If you want to help Charlie and the trans community, you can do so by signing the Claws Out petition here. You can also use the hashtag #ClawsOutForTrans on social media.

Paddy Maddison

Paddy Maddison is a freelance journalist and frequent contributor to LADbible. He specialises in men's lifestyle, music and news, which has seen him work with publications including ShortList, FashionBeans, Menswear Style and many industry-leading brands. Contact him on [email protected]

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