New emoji will include interracial relationships and gender-neutral options

Over 200 new emoji will be released on to our keyboards next year – including both a “person” and a woman with a beard, as well as a range of new couple emojis with different skin tones.

According to the Unicode Consortium – the non-profit responsible for emoji standards and new releases – there will be a limited release of 217 new emoji for us to express both our inner angst and happy times next year. This comes after it was announced in April that there would be no new emoji until 2022 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

While at the moment there is only a “yellow” skin tone option for both “couple with heart” and “kiss” emoji, next year will see a multitude of other skin colours added, making room for the depiction of interracial relationships while texting and posting on social media.

The addition of both a “person” and woman with a beard is intended to create a “gender-neutral” option for this emoji.

Other new designs include both a bandaged heart and a heart on fire – most likely to be related to heartbreak or heartburn, and perhaps a loose reference or tribute to the emotional impact of 2020. There will also be a “face in clouds” emoji, as well as a “face with spiral eyes”.

These new emojis will hit keyboards any time between January and October next year, with a larger update coming in 2022.

Top emoji that are due to arrive on Android and iOS by the end of 2020 include a gender-neutral Santa Claus (Mx Claus), a woman wearing a tuxedo, a man wearing a wedding dress and a transgender flag.

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When these were released earlier this year, the website Emojipedia – which is part of the Unicode Consortium – stated that these changes were “part of an ongoing effort to make a more consistent set of gender options across the board”.


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