On November 26, the First Annual Queer Tattoo Fest was held at The Stud in San Francisco. Five queer tattoo artists participated in the event that aimed to feature the myriad styles of ink, performances, vendors, meet-ups and contests. The Stud co-owner Dottie Lux and Kalash KaFae Magenta Fire produced the festival in order to welcome queer tattoo artists together with queer people with tattoos.
“Our goal for this event is to put a stamp on it and say, you know, tattooing does not belong to cis, straight bros,” said Lux in the days leading up to the Fest. “Tattooing is queer, it is a way to identify ourselves. It’s also a way to identify each other.”
The endeavor was not without controversy, as several previously booked tattoo artists dropped out of the event, mostly due to disagreement about giving home/DIY tattooing a platform. The artists who withdrew cite concerns of hygiene among other professional issues, and themselves have grouped to form the Queer Tattoo Alliance (QTA). QTA intends to launch their own convention that focuses strictly on tattoo craft.
Beginning in the early afternoon, the celebration’s contests commenced at 7pm with categories such as Best Black and White, Best Portrait (animal or person), and Regrets! Worst Tattoo. A variety show and music artist HOmobiles closed out the evening.
Admission proceeds paid for performers and event costs, and will go toward next year’s Annual Queer Tattoo Fest.
“My main goal is not actually this event, my main goal is the tenth annual queer tattoo festival,” Lux said about the big tattooed picture.