My dad came from Glasgow, Scotland (the thistle) and my mum came from Galway, Ireland (the shamrock).

When I was growing up in Kilburn most of my friends had the same Irish heritage as me. It was only when I left school that I realised that I didn’t really belong anywhere.

I wasn’t Irish or Scottish enough for the Irish or Scottish community or English enough for my neighbours.

My parents married in a time when you stayed together no matter what happened. They were married for 52 years.

I didn’t get on very well with my mum but I did with my dad. I wasn’t the person she wanted me to be so she was never happy with what I did or didn’t do.

She was very ill towards the end of her life; she had Parkinson’s disease for 15 years. My dad wasn’t ill until a few months before he died. He refused to go to a doctor so when he was too ill to put up a fight, I had to take him to A&E; he died in the hospital a month later.

I got this tattoo done for the first anniversary of my father’s death.

The tattoo is a constant reminder of the fact that I have different cultures as part of my DNA and I am proud to have them too.

written by ann


My tattoo is of a pink triangle. The symbol appropriated by the Nazis in their so-called concentration camps to mark the “homosexuals”.

For years I struggled with myself, with my family, with society, to understand and be who I am. A few words cannot do justice to describing that struggle.

My struggle was of uncertainty. Not knowing whether things might ever improve. Uncertainty as to what I thought. Was I at fault? Was I to blame? Was I ever going to be part of something, or confined to the margins forever?

And so I struggled.

My struggle was of pain. The physical and psychological pain of bullying and fear. The pain of knowing pain. The pain of world weariness. The pain that, little by little, tear by tear, snatched-smile-from-a-stranger cheer, I found a way to own, and ultimately convert into a power for me.

My struggle was of love. L O V E.

Now I found my power, the courage to be me, with the support of those who have gone before in this struggle and those around me now, I am never going back to hiding or fear.

I am proud to be me and the pink triangle is part of who I am. Nazis may have used it for evil purposes but like others before me, I reclaim that symbol as mine, one of celebration, joy and life.

More than that it is of love. Love is all we need. Don’t complicate this life with those things that suck life and love away.

This was not, is not, will never be, just my struggle.

Between my shoulder blades sits a beautiful, small piece of art. My tattoo. My symbol. My pain. Me.

Between my shoulder blades, poking out above the collar of my shirt, rising from my core to my head and out to the world.

Look and see. Look and read. Look and learn.

written by simon


I’ve always felt like a square peg in a round hole.

I had to drop out of school at one point because of my mental health. Growing up has always been quite challenging for me. I have bipolar.

I went to university in Norwich and had this transformative experience of finding myself for the first time.

It was there that I found my voice, found my identity.

I came out.

I graduated in 2013 but got this tattoo about 2 years ago. I wanted something to commemorate the people I had met and the place.

It's a tattoo of a university building.

The building is coming out of the person’s face. It’s a bit of an homage to the things going on in my mind. Also the hand cupping the face is a comfort. It could be the hand of a friend or someone just holding someone and saying, ‘You’ll be alright.’

It’s on the top of my arm. I’m a fat person and I have spent so much of my life hating my body and hating the bits of me that everyone wants me to hate about myself. So to have something that is beautiful on a part of my body that I don’t like or didn’t like, has been so good in loving that part of my body. And showing it off. told by amy uk

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