It is no secret that tattoos have been going more and more mainstream during the last few years. Not that long ago, face, neck, or hand tattoos were regarded as an eccentricity or an ex-convict thing; now, they’re not unusual at all.
However, unfortunately, many tattoed people are still the target of discrimination and prejudice. This is what happened to one mom and doctor who was kicked out of a restaurant just because of the ink on her skin.
Sarah Gray was born and raised in Adelaide, South Australia. She’s a doctor and a mother with what some may call a peculiar hobby: tattoos. Since she was 16, she was attracted to this form of body decoration and now, at 30, she’s almost fully covered in ink.
Now, she’s one of the most known and respected figures in the Australian tattoo community. But there are some downsides to that.
On the aesthetic side of things, some may like what she’s done to her skin more than others. To each their own; but what is certain is that it shows a great degree of commitment and passion to tattooing. But some people don’t appreciate that at all.
Despite working a respectable, high-status day job, she’s sometimes not well received in certain environments.
As Sarah herself has confessed, not all people appreciate her taste. This wouldn’t need to be a big problem. Everyone has their own opinions about fashion and personal aesthetics. Disagreement about those matters is natural and even healthy; it incentivizes creativity and difference.
But unfortunately, sometimes things aren’t so simple.
The trouble comes when intolerant people make assumptions or are prejudiced against someone just because they wear tattoos. Sarah has faced instances of discrimination and even hostility motivated by the art on her skin.
The last one was particularly outrageous. So much that Sarah decided to share it on her social media.
Sarah and her husband were planning on spending the evening dining in a restaurant on Australia’s Gold Coast. It was the 10th anniversary of the day they met for the first time. It was supposed to be a day of joy and celebration.
Little did Sarah know that their special day was about to get ruined by bigotry and intolerance.
Sarah’s husband, just like her, was heavily tattooed. “Through the tattooing industry, I found my soulmate,” she told the press when asked about her story.
And at first, they got through the restaurant’s door with no problem. They didn’t expect to have any trouble getting admitted into the local. The restaurant had been recommended to them by one of their friends in Adelaide’s tattoo scene. But it wasn’t long before things started getting ugly.
Sarah and her husband were sitting at their booked table, taking a look at the menu. They were choosing what they were going to eat when suddenly they saw one of the managers walking towards them.
At first, they just found it weird that it was the manager rather than one of the waiters who was approaching them. They thought he would just want to welcome them or, worst-case scenario, clarify something about the bookings. If only they knew how wrong they were.
As the manager was getting close, Sarah left her menu at the table and smiled at him, thinking that it wouldn’t be anything too serious. “How are you doing?” she asked.
But the manager wasn’t in the mood for chit-chat. He jumped straight into it. “Sorry, Mr. and Mrs., but we’re going to have to ask you to leave the restaurant. We have a strict ‘no visible tattoos allowed’ policy. Thank you for your understanding.”
“That was a little disappointing, to say the least,” Sarah would tell the press later when asked about the incident. But at that moment, she couldn’t hold it. She confronted the manager.
“But what’s wrong with our tattoos? I see some other people with tattoos around here,” she said. And it was true. A few other guests in the restaurant had some tattoos on their arms and legs, if only more minimal and discreet than those rocked by Sarah and her husband. But the manager’s response was baffling.
“Mrs., if you allow me to say so, your tattoos are a little bit too over the top. It might be intimidating for some of the other guests, and it doesn’t comply with the restaurant’s policy. I’m sorry, but there’s nothing I can do. Have a good evening.”
That comment made Sarah and her husband furious. And this is what they did.
Sarah found the manager’s comment really rude and even insulting. It made her not even want to have anything to do with that restaurant. So she and her husband got up and just walked to the door.
This episode was particularly outrageous. But as Sarah admitted, it wasn’t the first time that something similar happened to her.
Sarah has revealed that she’s used to being ignored by shop assistants and denied entry at casinos and restaurants. On the last occasion, this happened when she was in the company of some of her friends coming out of a tattoo convention. Fortunately, it was fixed.
‘I was able to discuss my concerns for unfair discrimination based solely on our appearance with management, and they bent the rules to allow us access,’ she said.
‘Quite a few night venues seem to have this policy, and although it doesn’t affect me very often as I hardly go out, it can be super frustrating when we get categorized as “bad people” or being gang afflicted due to our colorful skin,’ she also said.
It doesn’t end there. Recently, she was looking for a pair of designer heel shoes for her birthday, and she was ignored by the staff of three different stores. They just refused to help her find shoes of her size.
It’s really a disgrace that in this day and age, so many people are made the target of discrimination and bigotry just for their own personal aesthetic taste. Apparently, it doesn’t matter if you’re a respectable, law-abiding person or even a doctor: if you wear tattoos, you’re a pariah in the eyes of some people.
What do you think? Should discrimination against people with tattoos be considered a hate crime, or should there just be more education on the matter?