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We’ve won, lesbians. We’ve penetrated the realm of emojis

Snark aside, queer women should never be invisible.

If you’re in the middle of writing an earnest blog post about lesbian invisibility, stop this second. If you’re at a protest against lesbophobia, a fundraiser for lesbians with allergies, or a dyke march, go home now. After a struggle that can be traced back millennia, to Sappho’s fight for her right to mournfully finger women on an island, the battle is finally over. And ladies, we won. We’ve done it, lesbians, we’ve penetrated the realm of emojis.

Emojis, of course, are those tiny pictures of things you send to people in texts/WhatsApp messages, etc when you’re feeling intimidated by the richness and depth of language, and are looking to outsource your creativity. “I’m facing a level of existential doubt and dissatisfaction heretofore unbeknownst to mankind. Words fail me; here’s a little tractor instead.”

These new guys on the emoji scene include Piper and Alex from Orange Is The New Black, a fish taco (for the love of God), and a Tegan and Sara album. This unprecedented projection of lesbian iconography on to the screen of digital communication is sure to change the medium forever.  I mean, I’ve lost count of the number of times my emotions could only be expressed by a graphical representation of a turkey baster, and now I can do exactly that. It’s overwhelming to think that, up until so recently, I’d have to settle for the words, “I’m feeling turkey baster-y.”

Snark aside though, queer women should never be invisible. And I doff my trucker hat to Katie Streeter and Kimberly Linn, the designers behind the lesbian emojis. Streeter and Linn simply saw a place in which lesbians weren’t represented and went about filling it with famously dykey things. Having said that, I wasn’t immediately sure what their unicorn emoji represented, and weird shit happens when you Google “Lesbian unicorn”.

But anyway, where to go from here? Now that we can get married, be on TV and text one another miniscule pictures of innuendo-drenched Mexican delicacies, what could possibly be next for lesbian visibility? You so rarely see any lesbian neo-Nazis so, yet again, we fall behind gay men there. But maybe, for once, that’s a good thing. What about breakfast cereal though? Count to three and a lesbian, somewhere, has just finished a bowl of Alpen. But what’s on the box? Mountains. Great lumbering, bland mountains. It’s probably about time that Coco, the Coco Pops monkey (who everyone thinks is a bloke, for some reason), came out as a lesbian too.

I’m actually quite chuffed that I can now electronically emote in Lesbianese. It’s almost like Polari, the original slang of gay subculture, getting a 21st-century makeover. Next we’ll be 3D printing strap-ons and plonking a statue of Sue Perkins peering into an oven on Mars. But back to the present. I don’t think there’s any doubt that the BuzzFeed Age is the best time there’s ever been to be a lesbian.

Eleanor Margolis is a freelance journalist, whose "Lez Miserable" column appears weekly on the New Statesman website.

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For the first time in my life I have a sworn enemy – and I don’t even know her name

The cyclist, though, was enraged. “THAT’S CLEVER, ISN’T IT?” she yelled. “WALKING IN THE ROAD!”

Last month, I made an enemy. I do not say this lightly, and I certainly don’t say it with pride, as a more aggressive male might. Throughout my life I have avoided confrontation with a scrupulousness that an unkind observer would call out-and-out cowardice. A waiter could bring the wrong order, cold and crawling with maggots, and in response to “How is everything?” I’d still manage a grin and a “lovely, thanks”.

On the Underground, I’m so wary of being a bad citizen that I often give up my seat to people who aren’t pregnant, aren’t significantly older than me, and in some cases are far better equipped to stand than I am. If there’s one thing I am not, it’s any sort of provocateur. And yet now this: a feud.

And I don’t even know my enemy’s name.

She was on a bike when I accidentally entered her life. I was pushing a buggy and I wandered – rashly, in her view – into her path. There’s little doubt that I was to blame: walking on the road while in charge of a minor is not something encouraged by the Highway Code. In my defence, it was a quiet, suburban street; the cyclist was the only vehicle of any kind; and I was half a street’s length away from physically colliding with her. It was the misjudgment of a sleep-deprived parent rather than an act of malice.

The cyclist, though, was enraged. “THAT’S CLEVER, ISN’T IT?” she yelled. “WALKING IN THE ROAD!”

I was stung by what someone on The Apprentice might refer to as her negative feedback, and walked on with a redoubled sense of the parental inadequacy that is my default state even at the best of times.

A sad little incident, but a one-off, you would think. Only a week later, though, I was walking in a different part of town, this time without the toddler and engrossed in my phone. Again, I accept my culpability in crossing the road without paying due attention; again, I have to point out that it was only a “close shave” in the sense that meteorites are sometimes reported to have “narrowly missed crashing into the Earth” by 50,000 miles. It might have merited, at worst, a reproving ting of the bell. Instead came a familiar voice. “IT’S YOU AGAIN!” she yelled, wrathfully.

This time the shock brought a retort out of me, probably the harshest thing I have ever shouted at a stranger: “WHY ARE YOU SO UNPLEASANT?”

None of this is X-rated stuff, but it adds up to what I can only call a vendetta – something I never expected to pick up on the way to Waitrose. So I am writing this, as much as anything, in the spirit of rapprochement. I really believe that our third meeting, whenever it comes, can be a much happier affair. People can change. Who knows: maybe I’ll even be walking on the pavement

Mark Watson is a stand-up comedian and novelist. His most recent book, Crap at the Environment, follows his own efforts to halve his carbon footprint over one year.

This article first appeared in the 20 October 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Brothers in blood