Amsterdam man behind initiative for LGBT rainbow flag emoji

Amsterdam resident Maurice Beljaars submitted an application to the Unicode Consortium for a LGBT rainbow flag emoji. "There are emoji for a head massage and a fried egg", Beljaars said to Het Parool. "But a rainbow flag, the symbol for the LGBT community since the 70's is still out of the question."

The Amsterdam man decided to do something about the lack of a rainbow flag emoji after one of his friends was run off his bike and called a "cancer homo", the man said to the newspaper. "I wanted to dedicate a tweet to it, with a rainbow flag. But that does not exist. This was not the first time I missed the flag. But this time I decided to do something about it."

So Beljaars contacted the Unicode Consortium - a non-profit organization that approves emoji - and completed and submitted the mountain of paperwork required to add an emoji. He has no idea when he'll get a response. The selection process can take up to two years, but if there is great interest for a particular emoji the process may be accelerated.

As far as Beljaars knows he is the first to ask for a rainbow flag emoji. He believes that the existence of a rainbow emoji is not enough. "That is an emoji that comes in handy when you've actually seen a rainbow: when it comes to gay rights, we need a waving flag."

More information about the proposal, as well as a petition you can sign to boost interest in the application, can be found here.