It seems like the size of the page correlates to the size of the tattoo, if you compare it to my other two.
Otherwise, where to start on this one? Seems pretty straight-forward, really.
I had it done on June 16th, 2016 by Astrea at Maya Tattoo. I'd moved to the area about a month or so earlier, and I was at a bit of a crossroads.
Not so much whether to get the tattoo or not... more as to where to get it done. The choice to GET it has been kinda building for a while. I saw it at first as a simple square pixel on my ankle, or possibly somewhere else (in my mind, obviously). That slowly morphed into a few different possibilities, but I defintiely wanted *something*. There's been a lot happening in my life at the same time too. Well, a lot and very little at the exact same time. Seems to always be that way, doesn't it :P
In either case, that pixel at one point popped into my head to be another heart. The genderfluid heart is there, yeah, but I really wanted a heart tattoo that was more visible. Or a visible tattoo in some manner, really. I like the idea of a tattoo being generally visible, and not hidden away under a shirt or pair of leggings. I contemplated the wrist for a little bit, but nah. Neck? Ehh, maybe later. And I certainly still want a full sleeve down the road (if not two), but all of that is miles down the road, where money has less meaning.
So I'd settled on a heart of some sort. Wearing my heart on my ankle. Not quite a sleeve (whatever that means to begin with), but it felt right. In the meantime in my life, if I recall I had been either getting a lot of flack about keeping my beard, or something along those lines.
"How can you keep your beard and still call yourself a woman?"
"Because I like my beard."
But still in general, people associate beard with masculinity. And then there's me. This whole... yin and yang of male and female happening here. I think the heart ended up turning into a female sign both as an outwardly visible (at least in summer) indication that I present myself as, and prefer to be regarded as female, pronouns and all that good stuff.
And y'know, I kinda figured dressing in all women's clothing, wearing a bra with breast forms under it (give it a few years, I'm planning to swap those out with realsies), and makeup would have been a good enough indication that I identify as female, but it still didn't feel like that was enough somehow. And it felt like the beard was the cause of it. How could a bearded face fall in with the female crowd?
Aside from my countless other arguments of 'I like it' and 'beard-scritchin's are good', there's the other side of the coin. Would shaving my face make a difference?
If, after presenting myself in as feminine a manner as I can, someone is still unable to see me as female, I've become convinced that if I were to shave my beard, there would be no difference in that person's eyes regardless. What the other person is (I assume) seeing is a bearded man, dressed in women's clothing, moving her hips with a feminine sway, and wearing makeup. If I were to shave, the only part of that description that would change is the word 'bearded'.
So in a way, what I'm doing with the female sign tattoo is saying 'hey, instead of changing the word 'bearded', let's change the word 'man'. I've counted myself as a bearded lady for a while now. Makeup? Well, it's annoying that I still have to shave my cheeks, but I do still love how lipstick looks on my lips, surrounded by my relatively-well-groomed beard. Like other women, I wear makeup because it makes me feel better. And it lets other people see the woman inside that I want to present myself as.
If a little facial hair is enough to... y'know, I don't even know? The people who have pestered me in the past to shave my face, I really don't understand what they would have gotten out of it. If I shaved... then what? This random, arbitrary person who I kinda know in passing might feel a little bit better about seeing me as female? Maybe? Seems like a pretty poor tradeoff, to be honest. Lose my beard-scritchin's, and in exchange have a vague, remote possibility of making a stranger feel slightly less weirded out.
Nope... I likes my beard. Check the tattoo, female. Don't care if all you can look at is the facial hair, so long as you say 'she' when referring to me :)
So I guess if you want to simplify my having a female sign tattoo down to a single sentiment, it's that I want to be referred to with female pronouns. We live in a society where you've kinda gotta pick one. There's a handful of others out there... them, xer, ze, and a few others I'm sure. Whatever works for each individual person. I realize using a pronoun that feels 'unnatural' is difficult, and it's something I'm working on myself as well. Personally, I know very few other trans people, so I unfortunately don't even get the opportunity much to use alternative pronouns when referring to others. I don't know others to refer to with alternative pronouns, nor do I really have people I can talk to on a level in which I would be referring to people through the use of their chosen pronouns. It's really not something that comes up in conversation often.
But yeah, in me specifically, in my deepest of feels, the 'default' setting is female. Most of my life I've been fighting against the switch, so to speak. It's supposed to be facing in one direction, but it's always felt like it's supposed to face the other way. And it can still fluctuate, there's no denying that. But when I wake up in the morning, what do I see when I look into my eyes in the mirror?
I see a girl looking back at me :)
Added bonus of the tattoo (again, in summer). If you stumble in conversation because one of those rare situations where you actually need to pull out a pronoun comes about and you glance down, you'll hopefully spot the sign, and be all "oh, right, this one likes female pronouns, let's throw an 'S' on the front of that 'he' before I spit out outta my mouth" type thing :)
On July 17th, 2018, I went back to Astrea to have her turn it into a transgender symbol by adding the additional arrows to the heart, conveniently turning the female symbol into a trans symbol. We did some careful checking to make sure that the angles of all of the arrows were coming off at proper angles, and away we went! She also did some quick touch-up on it, and re-outlined the original tattoo to freshen it up, and turned it into what I have today! So that's all kinds of awesome, and I'm much happier with it now that it's showing my proper identity. Ever since coming out I've been very openly trans (as in not hiding the fact), so this fits me a lot more now ^_^