Adding RAINBOW FLAG to Unicode

Philippe Verdy verdy_p at
Sat Jun 27 22:46:22 CDT 2015

2015-06-28 2:33 GMT+02:00 Doug Ewell <doug at>:

> Noah Slater <nslater at tumbolia dot org> wrote:
>  I found this:
>>  [...] the UTC does not wish to entertain further proposals for
>>> encoding of symbol characters for flags, whether national, state,
>>> regional, international, or otherwise. References to UTC Minutes:
>>> [134-C2], January 28, 2013.
> I think the phrase "or otherwise" above might have been intended to mean
> "or otherwise."

But this statement of early 2013 was contradicted by the addition of
hundreds of new national flags (only because a few national flags were part
of some Japanese emojis sets, and it was not admissible to have just a
handlful of countries with flags but not all others).

> I looked up the minutes, but could not find a more detailed
>> explanation. My guess is that these concerns related to geopolitical
>> issues. Hopefully the same rationale does not apply to the rainbow
>> flag.
> My guess is that one reason certain rejected requests are added to the
> Archive of Notices of Non-Approval is so that the UTC doesn't have to haul
> out their original explanation or re-argue the same points when the same
> request, or a similar one, is made again.

As soon as Unicode accepted the Japanese emojis sets promoted by its local
telcos, including the few national flags the argument was dead. In fact
there are also lot of redundant emojis from these sets that were accepted
or were just minor variants of other existing Dings already encoded. Now we
see an explosion of emojis, but less efforts for historic scripts found in
our museums and libraries.

The reason being that popular demand won (e.g. look at the
Japanese-specific symbol for newbie: a yellow & blue open book: for most
others looking at the symbol it will look just like a bicolor tick vertical
arrow and will wonder why it is restricted to those colors which are not
even part of the name; others will wonder why they can't just have a
neutral symbol for an open book, when we have an open envelope, or why
there's no incription on this book, i.e. just 2 blank pages or covers
without any title).

Many emojis are in fact either very centered to Japanese or US culture,
including in their descriptions (this is notable on topics about cooking,
beverages, animals, buildings, road signals, vehicles, equipements not much
used in other places, imaginary characters/creatures...). The historic
origin of cultures is almost ignored around the Mediterrean Sea between
Europe, Western Asia and Africa, even if these topics are also existing
everywhere else and probably more universal (but just less used).
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