Technology giant Apple has unveiled hundreds of new emojis, which will include gender-neutral characters.
The new emojis will be available on iPhones and iPads with the latest iOS 11.1 update.
Some of the new emojis include, more emotive smiley faces, gender-neutral characters, clothing options, food types, animals and mythical creatures.
Launching next week, the updated emoji range will also feature new characters announced on World Emoji Day. They include, Woman with Headscarf, Bearded Person, Breastfeeding, Zombie, Person in Lotus Position and new food items such as Sandwich and Coconut.
Also included in the update is the Love-You Gesture, designed after the ‘I love you’ hand sign in American Sign Language.
Wait, why is this a big deal?
A major company recognizing people who live outside the gender binaries is pretty amazing, but it’s a pretty hard process to get new emojis approved.
Emojis are ‘picture characters’ which were originally associated with cellphone use in Japan, but are now popular worldwide.
The Unicode Consortium is a non-profit organization tasked with approving emojis for universal use around the world.
Applying to have a new emoji approved for use is an arduous and time consuming process, which can take up to two years.
Submissions are considered by the Emoji subcommittee who meetly weekly via phone. If the subcommittee likes the proposal it then recommends the submission to the Unicode Technical Committee (UTC) for Consideration. This group holds a week-long meeting once every three months.