How old were you when you got your first tattoo and what was it?
I had my first tattoo at the age of 15, it's an Native American Indian on my left arm, it was done to present my Spirit Guide in life who I believe to be an Native American Indian.
What is your employment status/occupation and do your tattoos effect it?
I am employed as a Police Community Support Officer and my tattoos must be covered at all times whilst on duty. I am currently in the process of trying to become a Police Officer, but I have been advised by HR that it is very unlikely due to me being heavily tattooed. I was employed as a PCSO heavily tattooed, but they have changed employment policy after my employment due to me being heavily tattooed. I work with others who have tattoos and they can publicly display their tattoos, but mine must be covered even though they aren't offensive, it's just because of the amount. Policy does say that all Officers with tattoos must have them covered, but this is not enforced on my colleagues, it is only enforced on me. I have brought this up with management, but I've been told that it was my choice to tattoo myself!
[Since completing this short interview I had an email update of how 'Anon's Police Officer application is going. Here is said update.]
' I thought I'd give you a quick update on how my application to become a Police Constable is going. My application has been unsuccessful, I requested the reason why and the reply was that I was deemed unsuitable because of my tattoos! As you know I've been a Police Community Support Officer for over 6 years and I was employed with my arms already tattooed. I have received a commendation for bravery and was voted PCSO of the year, only 2 weeks ago I received a email from the Chief Inspector commending me on my work. So I am more than capable, yet have been declined because of my appearance, even though all my tattoos are covered whilst on duty!
I am going to fight the decision and have got the backing of a local councillor and I'm awaiting a response from a solicitor.'
What is your favorite piece? What is the meaning behind it?
My favorite tattoo is a sacred heart with a rose on my ribs that I have tattooed in memory of my mum, I also have a star that is branded on my hand in my mothers memory.
Do you have a favorite artist who you go back to or do you collect different artists work? Why?
I do have some favorite tattoo artists, skill and being comfortable with the tattooists are both important factors to me. Fortunately I have some friends that are very good tattooists and I tend to go to them, John Treharne in Cardiff, Dave Fleet in Blackwood, Brim in Caerphilly and Dan James in Tenby to name just a few friends who have tattooed me.
Have you faced any specific discrimination due to being tattooed?
I have faced various forms of discrimination due to my tattoos, I have been turned away from pubs and clubs on nights out. I find that out shopping that I tend to get followed by security guards if my tattoos are openly on display. In work colleague's will openly mock me for my tattoos and beliefs, although they would not dare back fun of someone's sexuality, religious belief and so on and now I maybe prevented from becoming a PC, just because I'm tattooed.
Any other comments?
Sorry I haven't enclosed any pics, as I can't be identified as it would be my job in jeopardy. I can tell you that I have 2 full sleeves, a full back tattoo, my chest and ribs tattooed along with most of my 1 leg right down to my toes. I have nearly 2 dozen piercings and took out far more to become a PCSO.
I long for the day that people aren't discriminated because of their body mods. I go out of my way to change people's perceptions and I feel my job and previous jobs have shown people that I am more than just some ink or a piercing. I'm looking at ways to fight body mod discrimination and wish you all the best with your blog, as I feel that you can and are making a difference! I always think that a marathon starts with 1 step and goes from there, it's the same with stopping discrimination and your helping to make that 1st step.
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