The truth behind the anti-LGBTQ emoji controversy

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A supposed new anti-LGBTQ emoji caused an uproar on social media. But the symbol doesn’t actually exist as an official emoji.

The emoji shows the “no” symbol, also known as the prohibition sign, over the LGBTQ flag. People shared screengrabs of the emoji on Twitter. 

Everyone can breathe at least a little sigh of relief because the “anti-LGTBQ” image isn’t an official emoji. Emojipedia, the world’s emoji dictionary, explained on Twitter that it was user-created. 

The “no” symbol can be applied to any emoji on platforms that support it. Allowing a prohibition sign to be easily combined with other emojis makes sense for creating a lot of useful symbols, like no smoking, or no peanuts, or no kids.

Some queer people are embracing the manufactured anti-LGBTQ emoji with jokes and irony, in typical internet fashion.

Twitter user @mioog, who goes by Mitchell, says he found the code in January and was shocked by it. Mitchell is gay and says he’s embraced the ironic humor, but worries about the homophobes who are using the symbol as well. “I’ve been embracing it, but it’s also dangerous for people to use it hatefully,” he said to Out.

Some people are also getting tired of the fake hate symbol, even when used ironically by their peers. While some people can interact with the symbol in a fun and ironic way, for others it represents something painful, regardless of who is using it.

If you’re tired of the anti-gay emoji, the good news is there are lots of even more hilarious anti-emoji combinations you can make. And if you see a homophobe using the anti-rainbow flag symbol, you can always respond with this:


Alex Dalbey

Alex Dalbey

Alex Dalbey is a writer and zinester currently living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. They have written for The Daily Dot, Kill Screen, The Lingerie Addict, and Bullet Points.