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Emoji couples might come in 55 gender and skin tone combinations next year

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It’s a win for diversity

The next generation of emoji might have options to represent a full swath of different couples holding hands, accommodating different genders and skin tones. The news comes from a blog post by the Unicode Consortium, the organization behind the emoji we know and love. It’s narrowed down the shortlist of new emoji we’ll be seeing in 2019 to 179 in total.

Making up a large chunk of those new emoji are 55 characters to represent couples of different genders and skin tones. A new emoji — a standing person — will be used to create the couples. By placing two of these emoji side by side, they’ll merge into one, showing a couple holding hands. It’ll support the skin tone options already offered.

According to the blog post, there are also a few new emoji geared specifically toward those with disabilities; there’s one proposed to represent a deaf person, along with mechanical arms and legs. These were initially proposed by Apple in March, and the consortium largely accepted the proposal. The list will be finalized at a meeting this coming September.

Meanwhile, the Consortium is already setting the stage for what emoji we’ll be seeing in 2020, offering up eight possible contenders: a ninja, a military helmet, a mammoth, a feather, a dodo, a magic wand, a carpentry saw and a screwdriver. More candidates will be collected through March 2019.