GAYRVA, and the Transformation of a Tattoo Artist

Now, here’s something you don’t see every day. While we’re still getting to grips with the diversity around tattooing in the past few decades, not many people are really talking about those who are transgender. It isn’t really a tollerance thing; we just don’t normally see or notice it. However, there are still those out there who are transgender tattooers, who seem to have a pretty cool story to tell.

GAYRVA has a really cool article online right now which expores this a little, interviewing Abel Killian, a tattoeor in Lucky 13. Abel started his transition three years ago, staying at work in the shop throughout the whole process. Where everyone has been supportive, it’s cool to see that no one’s really made a big deal out of it. There are some people who see Abel has ‘the transgender tattooer’, but it mostly seems really positive. From the article:

He does think it has had an effect on his clientele, though. “A lot of people sent me messages saying, ‘I heard what you’re doing and I think its awesome. Give me a  tattoo.’ And it’s awesome, but then there is silence from others.” Said Killian, “I’ve gotten hate mail once or twice, but people don’t usually say negative things because people tend to be cowards when it comes to things they don’t understand.”

It’s an identity in tattooing which very rarely is explored, so it’s really great to see it here. There’s also some snippets in here from Bob Knox, who is Abel’s boss, which is cool. He’s been around the block a few times, and can compare this to the older days when tattooing was much more conservative, and people didn’t really hear of LGBT tattooers. It’s good to see such a great change in tattooing, and this is a good read.

The article can be found here– go and have a read, or save it for later!


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