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With the Gay Pride season well and truly upon us, 2022 is going to be a bumper Pride year. It's 50 years since the first ever UK Pride and this year there's more than 160 UK Pride events. OutUK correspondent Ryan Faas has been reflecting on the annual summer gay must-have - a Pride tattoo.

Like most outdoor summer gatherings Pride parades and festivals are excellent times for those of us with ink to show it off and for anyone who likes admiring to tattoo art to see everything from small Chinese characters to intricate full body designs on people of all types and ages.

A Gay Pride tattoo can be inspiring for you as well as others, no matter what kind of symbol it is. An equal sign, a rainbow, or a color heart - they all represent similar emotions.

At various Pride events I've already attended this year, I noticed many more people than ever before sporting some type of Pride symbol tattoo.

While I don't remember see any more than one rainbow triangle on one guy's left butt-cheek and a couple of double male symbols last year (both of which inspired me to get my now year-old stylized rainbow triangle on my left bicep), this year I spotted not only a greater number of Pride markings but also a greater variety.

Ryan's own Pride tattoo. Photo by Ryan Faas.
Tattoo by Lark St. Tattoo.
I met three men with variations of the double male symbol, my favourite being one where one of the symbols was a very basic, block solid black and the other was creatively loose and flowing (almost resembling a stylized lighting bolt) and rainbow coloured. Both the design and the workmanship were incredible.

I also spotted a few people with tattoos of their zodiac sign that were stylized with rainbow colouring. I found this to be a nice blend of a meaningful personal symbol and gay Pride in a single tattoo. For the same reason (and being a yoga student), I liked the look of the one woman who had a rainbow "om" symbol tattooed on the nape of her neck.

Probably the most creative and impressive example of Pride ink that I saw this year belongs to a friend of a friend. She was sporting a very detailed new tattoo on her left shoulder of a naked and anatomically correct female angel with rainbow coloured wings.

Obviously, having a Pride tattoo myself, I find it to be an incredible way to express your comfort and joy and (of course) Pride in your sexuality and community. For me, contemplating the tattoo made me realize that I had truly found my way past any shame associated with being gay. It was one of the most liberating experiences of my life.

However, like any tattoo, I don't suggest that it's right for everyone. Also, I think anyone thinking about a Pride tattoo consider some way of personalizing the design.

Every tattoo should be a personal expression and combining a rainbow theme with some other personal symbol can make a Pride tattoo even more special to you as well as interesting to others. It serves as a way of expressing who you are in addition to being gay, a way of combining your sexuality with other unique characteristics of who you are as a person.

For those of you who aren't sure there's always the possibility of getting yourself a temporary tattoo - and whilst those tend to be more-mass market than deeply personal they do allow you to enter into the spirit of things, albeit briefly.

Temporary Tattoos are Available from Amazon
But remember, the regular tattoos are permanent, so if you are thinking about one, be it a Pride or other symbol, take care in choosing one that is right for you and follow your artist's instruction on caring for it. Have a long hard think about it and make sure your tattoo is just right for you.

There are 160 UK Pride Events this year and you find details of all the Pride Around the UK here on OutUK.

Whatever you decide - Have a great Pride!


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