Grimace face emoji, crying laughing face emoji, monkey with hands over eyes.
Have you seen the latest emoji that’s taking over Twitter? The easiest way to describe it is an LGBTQ+ pride flag with a strikethrough symbol over it. It’s not an official emoji, but it’s somehow taken over Twitter. The image is only visible on mobile — on desktops it renders as the LGBTQ+ pride flag followed by the strikethrough symbol, rather than rendering them one on top of the other.
WHY IS THERE AN ANTI GAY FLAG EMOJI... IM SCREAMING ??? pic.twitter.com/PikdyxJAvn
— Honey Lemon Daily (@rossleonardy) February 19, 2019
Several people took to Twitter to question the emoji’s origin, since it is not an official emoji, but rather seems to be an aberration or glitch. Out has contacted Apple for more information and we will update when we hear back.
Apple trying to figure out who green light this emoji pic.twitter.com/R4JR5ZY2Jk
— Blacksenseii (@Blacksenseii) February 19, 2019
When the tl gets asked where this emoji came from
— justin (@justinclemz) February 19, 2019
But queer people are nothing if not resilient and rather than let the anti-gay emoji be used against them, many have adopted it and started to make jokes about it on Twitter.
me with my parents:
— Luis (@luisortiza13) February 19, 2019
gays obsessed w the emoji pic.twitter.com/LgswcV01UR
— Worst Bastard Ever (@ComradeMinghao) February 19, 2019
Homophobes and homosexuals when they discovered the emoji pic.twitter.com/wsSb9A0mCB
— Carlos Armando Rodriguez (@solracodnamra98) February 19, 2019
A recent Twitter moment compiled instances of the use of the emoji and traced it back to one Twitter user who first tweeted out the emoji Monday evening. According to the user, who changed his username to reflect that they had discovered the emoji, he discovered the flaw in Apple’s code and had known about it for some time.
So i’m fucking around and i’ve known this for a while, so i decide to post it and tell ppl in a group chat (power move) to get people to know about it.... What then went down is history PERIODT pic.twitter.com/AQK23LjIM1
— mitchell (Discovered ) (@mioog) February 19, 2019
The user, whose real name is Mitchell, told Out in a direct message that he discovered the flaw a month ago and was “shocked.” He found the flaw by combining two unicode blocks to make one emoji. He said that the flaw raised his suspicion. “It shouldn’t be possible,” he says.
Mitchell, who identifies as gay, said that he’s happy to see queer people use it ironically or humorously, but that he’s worried about the flip side.
“I’ve been embracing it, but it’s also dangerous for people to use it hatefully,” he says.
In a series of tweets, founder and editor in chief of Emojipedia Jeremy Burge explained that the anti-pride flag emoji is “not a glitch” and that it is “literally how that character works in combo with any emoji or character.” Burge also criticized Out as well as other outlets’ coverage of the emoji, asking media to frame the story in a more helpful way.
In the past ~36h a flurry of tweets about this "new emoji" have surfaced. As always, it's not clear which people believe it is somehow a genuine emoji, and which are trying to troll with faux outrage https://t.co/Vx5pkunnJj
— Jeremy Burge (@jeremyburge) February 19, 2019
In one tweet, Burge screenshotted a headline that reported that there was social media “outrage” over the emoji.
“I get that not everyone can be an expert on everything but when it comes to hateful messages and trolling attempts to create a narrative that don't (yet) exist in the public sphere: perhaps take a bit more time before hitting publish on the article,” he wrote.
- not a glitch
- it's literally how that character works in combo with any emoji or character
- if covering this, at least pick a helpful angle: "people have been duped into *thinking* there is a so-called 'anti-lgbt' emoji but there is not" pic.twitter.com/OIIlDStbFL
— Jeremy Burge (@jeremyburge) February 20, 2019
This story has been updated to include a response from Jeremy Burge.