Representation or Label: Emojis and Disability
This March, Apple submitted 13 emojis for consideration to the Unicode Consortium, the governing body that decides the official alphabet of emojis.
The new suite of icons include people in wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs, service dogs, as well as a hearing aid. The "Accessibility Emojis" are intended to improve the representation of individuals with disabilities.
In recent years, Unicode has added more inclusive emojis to reflect greater diversity of skin tone and sexual identity.
However, the accessibility emojis raised concerns among some disability advocates: By creating the emoji, does it in some way limit the way people are looked at? Does a singular icon somehow diminish a individual to just a physical characteristic?
Overall, there needs to be an increase in the representation and awareness of hearing loss. What matters most is allowing individuals with any disability the tools to frame it for themselves.
Any new emoji's will be announced in 2019.