A little while back Apple and many other platforms adopted a new Unicode standard for emojis that included, among other thing, emojis featuring same sex couples. More specifically, emoji featuring two men and a heart, two women and a heart, and gay families (two men or two women with children). Normal people saw this as a nice, inclusionary move. We all moved on.
Leave it to Russia however, to find something wrong with a gay emoji.
Russia, which we all know isn’t the most LGBT-tolerant country in the world to say the least, is reportedly looking into whether these gay emoji break its laws against promoting homosexuality.
The “investigation” was kicked off at the behest of a Senator named Mikhail Marchenko. From TIME:
In his written appeal to The Federal Service For Supervision of Communication, Information Technology and Mass Media, which is known in Russia as Roskomnadzor, the senator from the region of Bryansk called for an investigation into whether the emojis violate Russia’s controversial 2013 law against “homosexual propaganda” among minors.
“These emojis of non-traditional sexual orientation are seen by all users of the social network, a large portion of whom are minors,” said Senator Marchenko. “But propaganda of homosexuality is banned under the laws and under the pillars of tradition that exist here in our country.”
Social network? That’s right, Russia is looking into whether or not it should ban Facebook, as it allows said gay emojis on its platform.
Russian law allows it to block websites if they promote homosexuality to minors.
“In the response, which was written by the deputy head of The Federal Service For Supervision of Communication, Information Technology and Mass Media, Maxim Ksenzov, the agency says it is prepared to ‘take reactive measures’ against the emojis if they are found to constitute a threat to Russian children.”
Taking reactive measures against emoji. Welcome to the future, folks.