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Is It Necessary For Tattoo Studios To Create A Safe Space For The LGBTQ+ Community?

Updated: Nov 11, 2019


KTREW Tattoo - LGBTQ+ Safe Space


The winter months are behind us, the weather is beautiful and warm, and that beach bod we’ve been working on since January is looking toiyyyt!

Haha, ok maybe not...but one thing that always marks the beginning of the summer season in Brum is Birmingham Pride which is always something to get excited about.


This year Birmingham Pride weekend takes place on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th May 2019 and the theme is ‘Love Out Loud.


First thing’s first. We’d expect any tattoo studio to treat all customers with respect and consideration, and the majority of Tattooists pride themselves on their professional approach. However, in the spirit of this year’s pride theme, we think it’s important to be vocal on LGBTQ+ issues, and to be present with how we show our support and understanding for our community.


KTREW Tattoo is an LGBTQ+ owned Tattoo Studio in Birmingham City Centre. From our experience, for a lot of people a tattoo can represent survival, mark a point of transition, or allow for expression of true self. Tattoos are closely related to the idea of identity - a way to express the inner you on your outer shell. When it comes to identity, for some tattoos can represent milestones on a long journey towards self love and self acceptance. To be able to be part of that journey in a small way is a massive honour. (And let's be clear, tattoos can also mark an impulsive bit of pure meaningless good fun - which we also fully support!)


1. You hold the power

An important point is that although we have some understanding of LGBTQ+ issues when it comes to customers, it's really not our place to be making any assumptions or generalisations. For all customers, LGBTQ+ or otherwise, the power is with the customer when in comes to letting us know what they are comfortable with. We always let the customer lead in terms of what makes them comfortable.


2. Your visibility is your choice

It’s ok not to want to be vocal or visible as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

There are lots of reasons why you might prefer not to identify as LGBTQ+. Coming out, transitioning, or exploring gender and sexuality can be a painful process, or come at a cost for some. Others may choose to live and interact as their transitioned gender only, or feel that labels simply aren’t helpful or necessary. So please feel free to let us know how you feel. If visibility is important to you, then with your permission we’ll use LGBTQ+ hashtags and maybe share a bit about your story when we post an image of your finished tattoo. This is because we think shining your light can be a reassuring beacon to others.


3. Privacy

KTREW Tattoo is a private tattoo studio. This can help if you are worried about a lot of people being around – it will just be you, the tattooist and sometimes our lovely receptionist.


4. Undergarms!

Call us sheltered but there’s not many other scenarios we can think of in life where you walk into a place you’ve never been before, and take your clothes off in front of complete strangers!

There's no getting away from the fact that undergarments are tied to our identity and most are heavily gendered in design and functionality. Just walking into some of the larger tattoo studios can be intimidating. For LGBTQ+ customers, this can come with additional worries about garments such as binders, tucking, packing or padding. There's a chance that in order for your tattooist to effectively complete the work, you may have to expose or remove undergarments for the duration of the tattoo. We get this might be a daunting prospect. Although sometimes unavoidable, we will talk this through with you if necessary and make sure you are comfortable.


5. Your medical history

During your consultation process we'll chat about any surgeries you may have experienced, and we'll always recommend getting the go-ahead from your GP or your surgeon before getting a tattoo on an area with scars, or scar tissue. If it's relevant to the area you’re getting tattooed, we'll need to ask how long ago your operation was, whether you've had any revision surgery since and if you have any future surgeries planned. It's really useful for the tattooist to have a look at the scar tissue and talk to you about how that healing process was for you.

Scars can be difficult to tattoo over, but not impossible. Consultations in person are a must so we can discuss what the options are.


6. Transformation - tattoo style, and shape

As part of your consultation we’ll discuss the look your want to achieve and the style you want. Tattoos can be designed to add attention to, or divert attention from certain areas, or specific shapes can be used to complement after surgery. For example, a broad ‘inverted triangle’ shaped chest tattoo can help to create a masculine look post top surgery. Or existing tattoos can be adapted to achieve a more feminine or masculine look.



KTREW Tattoo is a stone’s throw away from Hurst St and all the Pride action. We look forward to meeting you this year. Please remember, we can’t tattoo you if you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol. For those of you that will be fully focused on partying, we look forward to working with the familiar background of your drunken screams from the fairground rides :)

If you’re thinking about getting a tattoo, click here to book in for a free consultation.


LGBTQ+ Charities, Resources, Events, and Groups within the Birmingham area


Birmingham LGBT

Birmingham Pride

SHOUT Festival of Queer Arts and Culture, Birmingham

LGBTQ+/Gender & Sexuality Diversity Buddhists, Birmingham

BIrmingham Blaze FC

Journey Film Club

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