STUDIO BENEDETTA CRIPPA
graphic design & visual interventions


PUBLISHED ON 14.03.2022


The Visible Gender, Part One
Gender identity is meant to expand possibilities for self-expression. How do its visuals live up to the task?

by Benedetta Crippa




Summary
Topics: gender, gender identity, representation, visual communication

  1. In a time marked growing calls for inclusion in representation, visuals for interpersonal communication are being adapted to the relatively new indicator of “gender identity”, as seen in the gender-fluid emojis first released by Google and Apple in 2019, with more on the way. There is a challenge in visualising gender identity, since it rejects any fixed visible differences between categories of people.
  2. In a culture where male is the default human, “neutral” will have to look male. Attempts at visualising neutrality or fluidity are resulting in increased representation of the dominant group. 
  3. Without unambiguous and shared definitions, representation will be achieved by referencing those categories that are clearly defined.
  4. Future attempts at fair representation must be grounded in power analysis



The Visible Gender, Part One

We live in a time when companies and public institutions are looking for ways to align their visual production with growing calls for inclusion. The importance of depicting groups and cultures in a non-discriminatory way is no longer a matter of discussion between specialists only, but it’s a conversation increasingly present in public discourse as well, aided by movements like Me Too and Black Lives Matter. The higher the bar of people’s expectations of fair representation, the more frequent the cases in which those who fail the expectations face a backlash – at times, with business-breaking consequences.

We are coming to understand that any image that is produced is tainted by partial, biased, and sometimes discriminatory views of reality. The creation of harmful visual stereotypes is frequent, especially when ‘who depicts’ holds more power than ‘who is depicted’, and this has gone pretty much unchecked for the better part of modern history. Women repeatedly portrayed as helpless victims saved by men is an example of harmful stereotype, Jews portrayed as rats by the Nazi propaganda is another. A representation that is just, on the contrary, avoids any such harmful stereotypes or tropes; challenges imbalances in visibility created by an uneven distribution of power, and offers a more fair view of reality. A just representation allows for a nuanced understanding of a diversity of people, groups, and cultures, without aiming to create hierarchies, or a single story about them.

Working toward just representation means to take into account a number of aspects of human existence, such as sex, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation and (dis)ability, to name but a few – we’ll call them “indicators”. In recent times, the additional indicator of “gender identity” has emerged, and is currently being advocated as an important priority by a range of groups, primarily in the West.

Questioning the notion of sex as a binary category grounded in the observation of a pattern of biological traits, “gender identity” broadly refers to an inner sense of ones gender. It proposes that gender sits on a spectrum instead and is determined by subjective feeling: everyone ‘identifies’ as a man, a woman, both, neither or something in between, and can define their own appearance accordingly. On top of woman, man and transgender, categories like non-binary, a-gender, genderless, genderfluid, genderqueer, and others are being used to describe people’s perception of themselves; thus, in theory, allowing for that nuanced, more accurate understanding of lived experience that fair representation would imply.

By dropping fixed sex categories as ‘assigned’, and instead proposing the opportunity for self-definition across a spectrum, gender identity is understood as overcoming what is considered an outdated, restrictive view of reality – a liberation from “boxes” we are all born into. What is unique about it, compared to other indicators, is that it is understood as an innovation: a “level up” for humanity so to speak, in the way it breaks with what is otherwise seen as a conservative, binary view of gender (male / female) and proposes a wider range of possibilities for self-expression and identification.

The growing popularity of the concept of gender identity has led to efforts to adapt visuals for interpersonal communication to this additional indicator, resulting for example in the “gender-fluid” emojis first released by Google and Apple in 2019. In contribution to these efforts, this analysis reviews some of the visuals created within the context of gender identity for communication (Part One) and pedagogical purposes (Part Two), and unpacks the extent to which they indeed bring a tangible contribution to fair representation, or not. As gender identity is meant to expand possibilities for self-expression, how do its visual manifestations live up to the task?


When things get visual


A skilled illustrator can easily create visual depictions from a description. Gender identity, however, poses a challenge, since its fundamental premise is that definitions should be open. The theory proposes the absence of any visual clues or other fixed parameters for belonging to the categories of woman, man, non-binary or any other category; and all categories, old or new, are welcome as long as they enable self-expression and are not enshrined in static definitions (what indeed stands out in the expressions “non”-binary, “trans”gender, “a”gender or gender“less”, or the “X” allowed in some passports as a third gender option, is the focus on what something is not, rather than what it is).

Changes of the verbal language toward neutral forms, subjective choices of personal pronouns untied to established grammar, and subjective categorisations are discussed by advocacy groups not only as priorities, but also as necessary and urgent improvements to language (in line with the understanding of gender identity as an innovation). Anti-harassment legislation is being drafted on the adherence by others to these subjective choices in some contexts: other people’s alignment with a person’s subjective understanding of themselves is considered the basis of fair treatment.

“Whenever we initiate a process of communication however, we leave the safe space of subjectivity and we become dependent on other people sharing a language with us”

Whenever we initiate a process of communication however, we leave the safe space of subjectivity and we become dependent on other people sharing a language with us: we depend on them seeing what we see, understanding the same as we do. A word may at times be kept blurry in its meaning, with more or less laborious workarounds. The practice of illustration, on the other hand, implies setting a visual definition. Given an endless number of slightly different, unique apricots existing in reality, to create the emoji – the symbol – of an apricot brings the complex challenge of designing the archetypical apricot: one that most people will recognise as such, even if it will not look like any specific, real apricot. And the first question we need to ask to create the archetype of a given group of objects is, “What do they have in common?”.

Emojis, like other symbols, boil down a varied array of features to the essential ones that allow us to recognise fruits, objects, things grouped under the same category. It is the task of the illustrator to identify what those essential features are, and use them to construct archetypes that are universally understood. Jennifer Daniel, designer at Google and Unicode Emoji Subcommittee chair, referring to the design of gender-neutral emojis confirms: “That’s what we’re trying to do–to [find] the signifiers that make something feel either male or female […]” (Daniel uses the term “feel”, but what we do in the context of language is actually to decode and interpret).

The design of the emojis of a man and a woman has involved a similar quest. No human being looks exactly like the female or male emojis, and the male and female emojis indeed do not aim at representing any actual man or woman. These representations are nothing more than visual summaries, compromises and approximations which we accept for communicative purposes, even though they do not portray any actual object or person. Successful communication is entirely dependent on our same, shared understanding of symbols, visual codes and archetypes: a shopping list with the emoji of an apricot that may be confused with a tomato will most likely lead to some disappointment at the dinner table.


Symbols work in three ways, not one


Is it possible to keep definitions open? You may suggest that it is, as long as both parties in communication know what they are talking about. Surely, symbols can be used between people to communicate about something they are already familiar with, like sending the emoji of an apricot to your friend to ask them to buy it at the store. If you both use the emoji of a tomato with the understanding that you mean apricot, it’s no big deal.

But symbols are also meant to give a fair idea of a given object to someone who has never seen it before. An example is the child in school who learns about the dolphin. We don’t bring the actual dolphin to class: instead, we use a symbol of it – an archetype that has to put our child in the condition of recognising dolphins in life, no matter if they all look a bit different from the image the child saw in third grade. Learning in life most often happens through illustrations, drawings or other representations that, as visual summaries, aim at giving a general idea of a group of things that share certain features, like dolphins. The scheme below summarises the two processes:


Recognition of reality from symbol
Recognition of symbol from the experience of reality
Representations also serve an important third function, that of self-identification. Since childhood, we grow up to learn the rules of the society we live in; we learn what people can and are allowed to do or be, primarily by observation, and then by imitation. When we recognise ourselves in an image, this adds to our inner library of our own possibilities of being and acting in the world. The global lack of female representation for the better part of history has negatively affected women in their concept of their own potential, as much as the over-representation of successful men has positively impacted them. When throughout life, every day you see, or not see someone who looks like you portrayed as an astronaut, a leader, or a president, this has a deep impact on your own sense of what you can achieve. It is therefore essential to a) produce images that people can intuitively identify with (without guidance), and b) make sure that the widest possible range of groups is represented.


Establishing visual commonalities:
the construction of emojis


We have seen that we use symbols to learn, communicate and identify with them. We have also seen that, to work as effective pedagogical and communicative tools, symbols need to be accurate enough to be recognised without guidance, while not attempting to represent any specific instance of an object or living being. This works well when we can agree on a series of traits that a group of objects or living beings have in common. According to the concept of gender identity, however, it is subjective feeling, not behaviour or appearance, that should be the criteria for belonging to a category, and there aren’t supposed to be any fixed visual features that allow us to distinguish between identities. In The Guardian (“My experience as a trans person doesn’t fit the script, but why should it?”, 31/08/2021), trans author Yves Rees confirms, “There is no one right way to do or be trans; instead, there are as many trans stories as there are trans people. The only prerequisite to being trans is to experience incongruence between your assigned sex and gender identity – a private feeling that individuals must diagnosis for themselves, and which cannot be reliably discerned via external markers such as clothing and interests [or behaviours] […] If you feel trans, you are trans, no matter what that looks like.” [bold added, ed.].

Let’s point out that this applies to any human or living being: there is no right way to be a woman or a man, to carry a disability, to be homosexual or Black, or even to be a dolphin, or an apricot for that matter. However, for all these categories, we do agree that its members need to share either some visible 1) features or 2) behavioural commonalities, and equally we accept ever-imperfect visual approximations of them for communication purposes.

Homosexuals are one of those groups that have no common appearance that makes them visibly homosexuals, however they share a common behaviour – and that is why homosexuals are depicted by two male or two female emojis with a heart in between, focusing on the behaviour of being romantically, and/or sexually involved with one’s same sex (this representation is not perfect, either. These emojis can easily be read to signify same-sex friendship, too; their meaning and efficacy will depend on context).


The proposition of gender identity, on the contrary, is that no archetype and no visible commonalities should exist. It will then not come as a surprise that Apple’s gender-fluid emojis were criticised for attempting exactly what an emoji is supposed to do: to represent the archetype, the universally understandable version of, in this case, a gender-fluid person. “How do [you] determine that these emojis are how gender-neutrality should be represented?” commented a disappointed Twitter-user upon the release of the symbols. Indeed, how? The attempt to deliver a definite representation of an un-definite, open category can only and inevitably fail: we cannot successfully construct a visual symbol for a group that is supposed to have nothing visibly in common, neither in its features nor its behaviour. When that’s the case, all that one can do is to try and design something hoping it will be ambiguous enough to leave people in the impossibility of deciding between already established categories – and that’s exactly how Google reasoned: “The new emoji are neither male or female, instead opting for a third gender neutral option for those who identify as neither”. Note the use of negation (“neither”) twice in the same sentence, indicating that the result is not representation but rather ambiguity, leading to the same outcome as if one worked on the idea of ‘androgynous’. But as much as one can try and avoid definitions, once the pencil is on the paper the question of what this third, “gender neutral” category looks like must necessarily be answered.

 


Neutrality in a man's world

One of the primary consequences of distribution of power in society is that certain bodies are intuitively used as the default for humanity as a whole, unless we are instructed otherwise. The domination of men over women through history has meant that “man” is today perceived as the standard, the template human being of which woman is a variation of, and less than. The Christian Bible describes the creation of woman through this same process of being derived from a small portion of man, and until the establishment of sex categories, women were understood as a “lesser” sub-variation of the male (and the only) sex. Today, for most minds the word “human” recalls the image of a (white) man, unless “female human” is used, and the same goes with most professional titles in English (think about a doctor, a president, and a driver. Then think about a nurse, a secretary, a prostitute. Notice what images pop in your head for the two groups).

The generic icon for “person” (think of the toilet sign) is also one of a male; however if a skirt, long hair, or another stereotypical signifier of woman is added, the icon no longer speaks of people in general; it is now specific about the sub-group of women. Bear with me through this important passage: in a culture where male is the default, anything that does not bear stereotypical signifiers of woman is read as male or neutral, and anything that bears even the most basic stereotypical signifier of woman will no longer be male or neutral. This process is unconscious and has everything to do with power and culture; and begs to be taken into account when constructing tools for communication.

This imbalance of power manifests in multiple ways and with long-lasting effects. Emojis that were never intended to be of a particular gender were coded as male by tech companies releasing them. Male coders, in short, coded themselves not only as the default but also as the only alternative, effectively erasing women. In an attempt to level the field, several new female emojis were released in recent years. Without them, everything would have remained only male: our culture’s default human. 
Given these premises we are ready to look with fresh eyes at gender fluidity, so let’s see how it went for Google and Apple. At first glance, Google’s designs (above) show an attempt to bridge the gap between man and woman with something in between that could generate an acceptable degree of ambiguity. When these emojis are considered in groups of three, like in the image above, it is already difficult to tell without guidance which one exactly should represent gender fluidity, or why. But when considered in pairs (image below), the burden of today’s culture becomes evident, showing where power lies. The telling clue is in the gap in similarity between the neutral and the other two versions, where the neutral and female versions are considerably more different than the neutral and the male one. Far from being a spectrum, it is as if we go from A (male) to B (neutral), and then suddenly jump to Z (female). And what we are left with here, in terms of what people are most likely to interpret, is actually two men and one woman.


Some emojis demonstrate this better than others. The vampire “neutral” emoji (top row above) is constructed more closely to the male one (left). The crucial thing here, that shows the imbalance of power, is that when the male emoji is absent (panel above on the left), the neutral one reads as male (or neutral), and the other correctly as female. But when the female emoji is absent (panel above on the right), none of the other two could intuitively be read as female; and there is no discernible feature that makes one more “neutral” or more “male” than the other. In attempting neutrality, men have duplicated in quantity. 


Since one cannot escape culture, Apple arrived at the exact same conclusion. In many cases, Apple’s male and neutral emojis are almost indistinguishable without deciphering the emojis at very large size, way beyond the way they are normally used. In some cases Apple did achieve a higher degree of supposed neutrality by playing with age: the male emoji is portrayed as older than the average male (see the “sauna” emoji below), with the result that the “neutral” emojis in the middle often look like a child, or a younger, pre-puberty version of the other two (therefore the design could skip any secondary sex characteristics, like moustaches or breasts).

However, it’s important to mention that, while often the neutral emoji is closer to the male one, and other times the neutral emoji is more of an exact middle point between male and female, the neutral emoji seems to never be closer to the female one. Even when an acceptable level of ambiguity is reached, we still need to explain why two emojis often look almost identical to each other, rather than having an actual spectrum of possibilities, and why they happen to mirror the group that has historically been the default human being at the top of the hierarchy. This has no possible justification from a design standpoint, except for the one of power.

As Caroline Criado Pérez mentions in her book Invisible Women, emojis are “the world’s ‘fastest-growing language’, used by more than 90% of the world’s online population”. Their design require a great deal of investment and work to make sure they will be correctly, and intuitively understood across languages and cultures. These attempts at gender neutrality suggest some facts that should be confronted if we hope for any fairness in representation ahead:

  1. Gender neutrality is a derivative of male, and means abandoning any signifier of woman, but not of man
  2. Male and neutral are interchangeable, but female and neutral are not
  3. To be read as neutral, you must be more similar to man than woman

The last statement is self-evident: in a culture where male is established as the “neutral”, or default version of human, “neutral” will have to look male.

Evidently, these attempts do poorly at challenging established imbalances of power, and if anything reinforce and confirm common stereotypes and even exacerbate an existing unfairness in representation. To give the group in power a potential 100% increase in representation is especially serious. These designs also show that when clear, unambiguous definitions are missing, effective representation becomes impossible. Indeed, it will merely be a derivative, or an average of those categories that are defined, typically to the detriment of those very groups that would be in need of greater visibility; and to the advantage of those already established as the norm. In The Tyranny of Structurelessness, political scientist Jo Freeman exposes how, when formal structures are absent, informal ones – typically those already holding power – will emerge and establish control. These emojis echo her point, showing that by leaving categories open and power unchecked, we may unintentionally give greater space and power to those who already have it.

What about just dropping categories altogether, stop labelling these symbols “male”, “female” and “neutral”, and just have three un-categorised emojis people can choose from? We would still need to justify why they should be 3 and not 1, why not 5 or 100, and what to design them from, since each and every symbol needs to be grounded in an observable reality it can be designed from, and connected to. We are also still left with the problem of symbols that are not supposed to represent anything in particular: how will we use them to communicate, learn from, and identify with?


Faced with these dilemmas and the challenge of an ever-growing number of emojis (today over 3000), as well as exposure to criticism when someone is left unhappy, some companies are considering abandoning all clear signifiers of gender, race and other features, returning to a supposed neutrality; in essence, back to how things were at the beginning. Jennifer Daniel makes the example of the ‘hug’ emoji, kept “ambiguous” in terms of gender and race to avoid creating several variations: “The design is similar to other ambiguous figures [...]. No hair, no eyes, no ears, no fingers. They are ageless, sexless, genderless. They are just two souls hugging. Removing all those markers of identity means that the people sending the hug emoji and receiving it can focus on the concept of hugging and hugging alone”. In this well-intentioned aim, however, power is what keeps being forgotten: in the current state of affairs, any attempt at neutrality will be read as male, unless culture changes.

“By dropping other specific designs, we are not returning to the neutral alone: we are also returning to a (white) male-only representation”

By dropping other specific designs, we are not returning to the neutral alone: we are also returning to a (white) male-only representation. The point here is not whether the hug-emoji could be read as neutral, but whether the distinct possibility exists that it will be mostly read as male, perhaps as neutral and, more poignantly, never as female. 

Mind the gap

It’s worth briefly running the parallel with undergoing attempts at modifying verbal language in idioms where the male version is the default one. In French, Spanish or Italian for instance, where most words are either male or female and neutral does not exist (there’s no structure or conceptual foundation in these languages for it), one of the proposals to move toward a supposedly more inclusive gender-neutral language is to switch the last vowel, which usually indicates gender, with an asterisk (*). Taking the example of the Italian word “tutti” (meaning “everyone” for an all-male group, or for a mixed group) and “tutte” (“everyone” for an all-female group), these would both be replaced by “tutt*”.

Supporters of this solution suggest that this simple change avoids people thinking of a specific gender, and creates a language that represents everyone. However, this is directly contradicted by experiments in ironic process theory, which show that it is not possible to picture the absence of something we are asked to not think about. When told “Don’t think of an elephant!”, we cannot picture the absence of an elephant: we will instead see an elephant popping into our heads. It would work with “Don’t think of egdjmcg”: since we do not know what “egdjmcg” is or looks like, we will imagine nothing at all (but still recall or picture the word itself). When categories are established, the brain recalls them – and first recalls the one that it has learnt to use as the default: the first choice, the starting point. The asterisk is meant to say, “Don’t think of a gender”, but just as with visual language, our mind attempts to fill the gap that the asterisk creates instead of resolving it, and we will unconsciously read “tutt*” as “tutti” – back to the male version we have learned to use as the default one: the only difference, and an important one at that, is that the female version is no longer available.

“Such solutions can have the unintended effect of pushing us backwards in terms of representation, instead of opening up for a more inclusive landscape”

Such solutions can have the unintended effect of pushing us backwards in terms of representation, instead of opening up for a more inclusive landscape. And given the widespread lack of knowledge of feminist and power analysis in most institutions, they are frequently endorsed by those who should act as gatekeepers. The Crusca Academy, a body that monitors developments in the Italian language, released a lengthy statement in September 2021 (“Un asterisco sul genere”, 24/09/21) acknowledging that neutral forms cannot be imposed, through solutions such as the asterisk, in languages that do not have a conceptual base for it (meaning, people have nothing to associate “neutral” with – and no, “nothing” is not “something”). Their unfortunate conclusion, and yet another confirmation of established power, is that the male version of words should become the only possible one, since – no surprise there – it is “neutral” and thus encompasses “everyone”. It is easy to see how what is already enjoying dominance over all other groups keeps on being confirmed (or rather, confirms itself) as the ideal, and even the only, option.

One final, odd circumstance



The process of choosing what emojis to design, and how to design them is centralised over at Unicode (for an insight into that process, check Meg Miller’s Inside the Hyper-specific Quest to Add a Transgender Emoji). Which emoji makes it into the world is based on a series of factors, including relevance – the extent to which people have a use for it. Even so, it took some time to release the emoji representing one of humanity’s most fundamental (and indeed, most overlooked) biological processes: pregnancy. The emoji of a pregnant woman was released in 2016 with the 9th version of Unicode, in the same package as the avocado, the person playing water polo, and others.

At the time of writing, Apple is preparing to release a new set of emoji (coming in April 2022) that include two notable additions: the male, and the gender-neutral version of a pregnant woman. These emojis are also worth unpacking from a power perspective. Since the library of emojis representing people work with sub-packs of three symbols meant to always represent a male (appearing first), gender-neutral (coming second) and female (coming last), these new emojis go further than saying that a person can look in a variety of ways while being pregnant, or that a transman or genderfluid person can become pregnant, which would be accurate. They also say that a boy, or a man can be pregnant. However this, like all homosexuals faced with the question of parenthood know well, is a biological impossibility, at least until things like uterus transplants and artificial wombs will be available, and women are no longer necessary to childbirth (men are working on it).

Let’s set aside for a moment the long and violent history of men exploiting women’s ability of becoming pregnant to establish control over them, and let’s suspend the judgement on whether the emoji of a pregnant male invalidates that history, and the implications of power there. We still need to justify why the image of a pregnant male should be established in the heads of young men, and explain why we allow this particular emoji to tell a different story about their bodies than the one these boys will learn in school or, in much harder ways, through their lived experience. This emoji goes further than describing reality, and it wanders in the territory of claiming one, in a way no other emoji representing people (meant as real beings, not fantasies like for instance a mermaid) has until now been allowed to do.



This instance becomes even more extraordinary in the context of the only emoji in Apple’s collection that has insofar been kept exclusively female: the emoji of a woman wearing a headscarf (also representing a Hijab), unchanged since it was released in 2017. It is important to ask what makes it easier to imagine a pregnant man than a man wearing a headscarf; or a pregnant genderfluid person rather than a genderfluid person wearing a Hijab. The answer, once again, is cultural and it has not so much to do with design, and all to do with power.


Possible paths forward

What solutions are there to this seemingly insurmountable quest for fair representation? An attempt to drop the problem altogether has been BitMoji, an app that allows users to create a highly customised avatar to be used for interpersonal communication, so that everyone is happy – and that may indeed be where the future of emojis representing people is headed. Some mobile systems have already integrated the creation of a fully customisable self-avatar as part of their collection of emoji. Even so, it is yet again worth mentioning that, when the app offers 30 or 100 different eyebrows to choose from, we are still choosing between a limited number of archetypes of eyebrows. Similarly, the emojis of different skin tones released to signify different ethnicities are archetypes of skin tones, and cannot cover the rich variety of human colours and experiences, thus being doomed to never fully represent anyone. No visual depiction, not even a photograph, can be a complete representation of the complexity and uniqueness of each individual – we are all, indeed, unique and in constant, fluid evolution.

In refining our ever-evolving, shared library of symbols, we are faced with the necessity of keeping them grounded into observable patterns of reality. If you are looking for guidance, a good rule of thumb is this: whenever you are faced with the challenge of representation, go back to an analysis of power. Does the proposed solution challenge established hierarchies of power, or does it rather confirm, or even exacerbate those hierarchies? If so, the operation begs revision, either in its results, or in its premises. Part Two of this essay extends the analysis to visuals on gender identity produced for pedagogical purposes: where the task becomes even more profound, challenging, and bearing greater responsibility than the one of interpersonal communication.

About the author
Benedetta Crippa is a graphic designer and visual communication advisor running her own design and research practice in Stockholm, Sweden. Her writings expose the intersections between visual culture and power. Read more by Benedetta via A for Anything on Depatriarchise Design, The Colour of Green, On Visual Sustainability on AIGA Eye on Design and Teach What You Need to Learn on Futuress. Reach Benedetta at info@studiobenedettacrippa.com

Credits
Thank you to Moa Matthis, Meg Miller and Anja Neidhardt, who contributed with feedback and editing. Images are used for educational purposes only and belong to their respective owners.

Note
The landscape and terminology around the subject of this essay are evolving rapidly. Details are discussed to the best knowledge of the author at the time of writing.

Sources and Further reading
AIGA Eye on Design, Inside the Hyper-specific Quest to Add a Transgender Emoji, by Meg Miller, 17.04.19
Fast Company, Exclusive: Google releases 53 gender fluid emoji, by Mark Wilson, 05.07.19
The Crusca Academy, Un Asterico sul Genere, by Paolo D'Achille, 24.09.2021
The Guardian, My experience as a trans person doesn’t fit the script, but why should it?, by Yves Rees, 31.08.21
The Guardian, From hijabs to pretzels – what makes an emoji?, by Chris Stokel-Walker, 16.09.18
The Hijab Emoji Project, hijabemoji.org
Substack, Sending You Hugs, by Jennifer Daniel, 04.02.21
Android Central, Google is releasing 53 new gender neutral emojis, by Jason England, 08.05.19
Starobserver, Apple releases gender non-binary and disability emojis, by Mike Hitch, 06.11.19


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