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Here’s Why People Are Using the Lobster Emoji to Rally for Transgender Representation

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Maine’s lobster emoji has emerged as an unlikely symbol for transgender representation, thanks to the trans activism group Lobsters Against Transphobia.

According to the Portland Press Herald, the adoption of the lobster emoji as a trans symbol began after the group created an online petition last month asking Unicode to make a pink-and-blue flag, a universally acknowledged symbol in the transgender community, in emoji form. Until a pink-and-blue flag emoji is created, users are encouraged to use the lobster emoji, which was one of 157 emojis approved by Unicode this year. (Lobsters can display both male and female characteristics.)

In the petition, the group wrote about their reason for advocating for representation.

“Emojis are a way for the world to connect, and trans people shouldn’t be left out of the conversation,” they wrote. “Unicode granted the Lobster emoji proposal, which argued that people suffered ‘frustration and confusion’ at having to use a shrimp or crab emoji in instead of a lobster. Imagine if that was your gender. Surely we deserve the same rights you have afforded crustaceans?”

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Write to Cady Lang at cady.lang@timemagazine.com