Adding RAINBOW FLAG to Unicode

Doug Ewell doug at
Sun Jun 28 15:23:33 CDT 2015

Noah Slater wrote:

> Sorry to be a pain. I mentioned I looked up the minutes and couldn't
> find anything apropos.
> Could someone explain the rational behind 134-C2 and how it might
> apply to the rainbow flag proposal ?

The following is informal and dilettante, since only a UTC officer can 
give a formal rationale for what happened in this 2013 meeting.

According to the minutes, consensus decision 134-C2, by itself, says 
only: "Consensus: The Unicode Technical Committee does not approve 
encoding a United States flag symbol." That refers only to the one 
symbol proposed in L2/12-094.

But the same discussion also led to an action item, 134-A5: "Action Item 
for Ken Whistler: Add the United States Flag symbol to notices of 

And that notice says, in full (not elided):

"Disposition: The UTC rejected the proposal. The mapping to an existing 
emoji symbol for the US flag is already possible by using pairs of 
regional indicator symbols. Additionally, the domain of flags is 
generally not amenable to representation by encoded characters, and 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."

The last clause is the relevant one here: "whether national, state, 
regional, international, or otherwise." The words "or otherwise" could 
be interpreted as saying that no *specific* flag of any kind will be 
encoded in the future as a single character, partly because the domain 
of flags is so open-ended. That would include flags associated with or 
representing specific groups of individuals or social causes.

Now, we know that this is all flexible and subject to momentary change. 
Trying to predict what will and will not be considered "in scope" is 
more difficult today than ever. Perhaps your best bet is simply to write 
and submit a proposal, and see what happens.

Doug Ewell | | Thornton, CO ����

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