One of my many interests includes reading about gay history specifically about the development and changes in the butch-femme roles and culture. I hit pay dirt with the book “Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold” by E. Kennedy & M. Davis.
In one part of the book it tells about the Lesbian community of the late 1950’s in Buffalo, NY and how the butches wanted to identify their status in a way other than their butchy dress appearances.
“….the cultural push to be identified…was so powerful that it generated a new form of identification among the tough bar lesbians: a star tattoo on the top of the wrist, which was usually covered by a watch. This was the first symbol of community identity that did not rely on butch-fem imagery."
A tiny blue five-pointed star became a symbol of self identification for lesbians long before the politics of the gay liberation movement had begun.
The nautical star is also a symbol for the punk rockers and military but then in the 70’s it saw the revival in our community during the gay liberation.
With this in mind, I wanted to express the past as well as add my own gay history in a tattoo. The smaller star on my wrist represents the time when being a lesbian needed to be hidden or you would very well end up in a mental hospital. The larger star represents my own personal coming out journey. The two are linked together because without the struggles of the Lesbians before me I wouldn’t be able to benefit from the successes in today’s gay movement.
TAT design - Jude