For many queer people, tattoo shops can be hyper-masculine spaces of body policing and discomfort, making the experience of body modification unpleasant or even dangerous.
Brody Polinsky wanted to remedy this with his own tattoo shop that specifically caters to the needs of queer and trans-identifying people.
Based in Berlin, the tattoo shop, UNIV ERSE STUDIO, is open to everyone no matter how they identify ― as long as they are open to supporting the spectrum of human diversity. Polinsky began tattooing as a way to reconcile his own queer identity and deal with past trauma.
“Body modification is for everyone and queer tattooing is a very important space to create within it transparently,” Polinsky told The Huffington Post. “There are plenty of studios and street shops available for the hetero communities to feel they are apart of. For me, covering my entire body was an attempt to own my skin as a queer kid trying being apart of a community I did not feel accepted in.”
Polinsky hopes to see more openly queer tattooers going forward, as well as tattoo shops creating safe spaces for LGBTQ people to engage in body modification in ways that make them feel safe and comfortable.
“It does not matter how you identify,” Polinsky continued, “just as long as you are open we will get on fine over a tea and a relaxed album tattooing you.”
Check out a few other images of Polinsky’s tattooing below and head here for more information.