Finland unveils new Tom of Finland emoji

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The country is the first to launch a set of its own emojis, featuring an iconic gay figure.

To celebrate the legalisation of same-sex marriage, coming into force on March 1, Finland has launched a series of national emojis, including a Tom of Finland emoji.

Far from being as risqué as Touko Laaksonen’s artwork itself, this moustachioed man pays homage to the one of the most recognisable characters in the artist’s homoerotic drawings, which debuted in the 1950s.

Though Laaksonen faced discrimination within his lifetime, included having his work destroyed to maintain the country’s conservative atmosphere, he is now being embraced as Finland’s most famous artist.

The national website celebrates this legacy: “The artist made, and continues to make, a significant contribution to the advancement of human rights, advocating for tolerance, respect and freedom.”

The emoji release comes ahead of a new feature film chronicling the life of the Finnish artist, which will be released on February 24. A sign of his lasting popularity, a line of Tom of Finland postage stamps was also released three years ago and became the best-selling stamps in the country’s history.

You can download Tom of Finland on the country’s website, along with 55 other tongue-in-cheek emojis including Aurelia Borealis and Moominmamma. Perfect for texting Scandinavian pals and/or your leather daddy.

Petra Theman, Director for Public Diplomacy at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, said in a press release: “The emojis still clearly convey what Finland feels is important: biodiversity and natural coexistence—coexistence with the challenges of our environment and also harmonious coexistence with each other.”

Could this be the new aubergine for the queer scene?