Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Lesbian Star

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
TAT artwork - Elvis
Femme who loves it - my Wife

18 comments:

Squirty said...

Blows my tractor out of the water. I love it!

lesbo said...

Jude, that's a sweet tat!
Love all the meaning behind it. Very cool!

aj said...

SO AWESOME

I love it

Propane Amy said...

very very cool. I love the history.

shane rocket said...

love it of course, when we visit i have to get a tat by a person named elvis!!!! and i think you are fooling yourself those look pink to me....

Dawg said...

Very nice :)

When my upper sleeve is done I'll share pics

Newbo said...

I love it! I love tattoos, well nice ones anyways lol. Never had the guts to get one of my own though!

Jen said...

Love this Jude. You rock.

kimber p said...

very, very meaningful and beautifully done....I love it!!

Sandy said...

Pretty cool with a very meaningful story behind it.

lesbo said...

Jude, they're totally not pink. I got your back on this one. ;)

Dragon said...

That is a great tat and absolutley love the meaning behind it!! :-D

teamo said...

It's awesome. In fact a little too awesome - Now Becca wants one!

Natalie said...

wow! nicely done. love the thought that went into it as well!

small town dyke said...

love it the wife and I have 3 mathing tats, she has a rainbow star on her wrist and I want one!!

Dar said...

VERY VERY NICE! ... I can't wait to get a similar star on my wrist, ... and it will be an honour Jude to include you on that list of those that came before. :)

I love the reasoning behind your design, and even though I am only getting the one small one on my wrist, it will never be hidden, so basically it amounts to something similar for me as yours does for you. being out, and being proud.

Windy Days said...

I want it! I want it! WANT IT!

And hey, I don't think those shorts are pink, either. But if they were, you'd still be a big old butch. Just with a rocking pair of shorts. Think about it.

DTB said...

My girlfriend has a nautical star on her neck. I've got a Celtic knot pentagram on my lower back. I'm getting more stars on my back eventually. I may honor history and get a wee one on my wrist. Thanks for the history lesson