Getting inked up

By Kathryn Kelman/ ne news editor

The acceptability of tattoos has been widely debated for years, but at TCC, getting inked doesn’t tend to stir up much controversy. 

Some students, instructors and staff members across the district know what it’s like to have a needle stabbed into their skin thousands of times and be judged for it, but they said it’s rare for them to feel judged or ostracized while on campus.

TR student Edith Garcia has four tattoos currently and likes the way they look. Each has an important personal meaning to her, she said.

“At TCC, it doesn’t seem to matter if students have them,” she said.

NE student Daniel Skogerboe doesn’t have any tattoos and isn’t a huge fan of them but said people at TCC seem fine about them.

“They’re not like ‘cover ’em up!’” he said.

Tattoos may be more acceptable to people because of how meaningful the form of expression has become to so many, one student said.

“I feel like if you give people a meaning behind ink, they’re more readily able to accept it,” NE student Cameron Sloan. “It’s better than saying, ‘I thought it was pretty.’”

Sloan currently has five tattoos, all of which he designed himself.

“I like doing the artwork myself,” he said. “I guess because nobody can put into a picture what I’m feeling.”

Sloan’s most recent tattoo was his wedding band that incorporated the inverted pink triangle. The LGBT symbol stands for silence equals death, he said.

“It’s a reminder to speak up, to say we are here and we are second to none and we matter,” he said. “That’s why I got this as our wedding band, because we are here and we matter and our marriage counts.”

The acceptability of tattoos could be simply because more people have them nowadays, TR student Sara Maldonado said.

“I think in the last two decades more people have tattoos, which makes them seen in a less negative light,” she said.

Tattoos aren’t acceptable everywhere yet. A stigma is still associated with them, but that’s changing, South student Annaline Canales said.

“Slowly, more people our age are getting tattoos,” she said. “But, people entering the workforce still have to cover them up or put them in places that are discreet.”

People are coming around, though, because tattoos are becoming a part of everyday life, and that’s slowly making them more normal, Canales said.

NE staff member Andrew Rodriguez has three tattoos and isn’t required to cover them up while working in the financial aid office.

“They’re an outward expression of who I am inside,” he said. “My experience at TCC with tattoos has always been really positive. They’ve always been inquisitive and nonjudgmental.”

Not everyone has meaningful tattoos, though.

“I got them done out of boredom and curiosity,” SE student Camila Gonzalez said. “None are very significant, but I’m an art student, so I like the creativity.”

She likes her tattoos and said no one else should care because if it’s not their body, then it’s not their decision to make.

“It’s an art form,” Gonzalez said.

Even though Gonzalez has mostly gotten her tattoos out of boredom, her experience as someone with tattoos at TCC hasn’t been a bad one.

“Usually older people are more typical to judge or think I do bad things for having tattoos,” she said. “So, I think it’s way more accepted here [at TCC].”

While TCC does seem to be more accepting, some students are still against them. South student Genesis Fernandez’s religion is her main reason for not getting any tattoos.

“I don’t believe in marking my body in that way, but that is my decision,” Fernandez said. “I don’t think there should be judgment on anyone in any way.”

NE student Daniel Skogerboe thinks, however, that some tattoos are just plain ugly.

“Some of them are cool designs, but some people just go crazy and it’s like, ‘Wow, you’re stuck with that forever,’” he said.

­— Also by Anne Francomano, Jason Middlebrooks and Raegan Scharfetter