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Tits 4 Tats is giving free tattoos to help trans men who want top surgery


TextDominic Cadogan

‘Donating even a couple quid to someone’s fundraiser is not only money towards their goal, it represents affirmation and support of them as a person’

With governments in both the UK and the US rolling back vital rights for trans people, it’s more important than ever for cis allies to show up and do their part. In addition to signing petitions that fight back against this extremely damaging legislation, and educating yourself by watching documentaries centering trans narratives like Disclosure, you can also directly help trans men via the newly launched Tits 4 Tats project. 

Founded by London-based artist Billy, the initiative offers free stick and poke tattoos in exchange for a donation. “Over the past few months, with the pandemic, I’ve seen people fundraising and protesting and it’s been so inspiring, I was looking for something I could do personally with my own skills,” they explain. “Tattooing did so much for my dysphoria, what better way to utilise that than to fundraise for surgeries to help people with their own body dysphorias?” 

Each tattoo Billy will be doing is in exchange for a donation to one (or more!) select top surgery funds – a procedure that for some trans men is vital for coping with dysphoria and affirming their identity. “Everyone deserves to be as comfortable as they can in their body, unfortunately for people who are trans – it’s not that simple, easy, or cheap. Although people shouldn’t have to fundraise, it cuts out a lot of time for those who feel like they can’t survive in the body they have the way it is, who need help getting the funds for more immediate surgery as wait lists on the NHS can go up to five years,” Billy continues. “Donating even a couple quid to someone’s fundraiser is not only money towards their goal, it represents affirmation and support of them as a person – it’s so much more than just a donation.” 

A skill they’ve been honing since they were 17, tattooing felt like the natural avenue to go down. “It’s extremely cathartic and intimate and such a beautiful way to bond with people, to hear stories and experiences and to become a part of them... the whole idea just blows my mind,” Billy says. 

As a trans-masculine person who has suffered from chronic dysphoria, they intimately know the power of tattoos and how they can help with coping. “At a time where I didn’t understand what it was to be trans, I just hated my body and it was a personal way for me to cover up and distract myself from my dysphoria,” they explain. “People look at my tats and want to know their stories and it’s a way to speak about myself without having to centre around my gender; plus it’s really affirming to have the thing that you use to make yourself better be praised.” 

If you don’t want to get a tattoo or don’t live in London or Oxford (where Billy travels between), they say there are plenty of ways to show your support. “Donate anyway! I’ll be adding links to all the fundraisers I come across and I’ll eventually be making a group fund,” they say. “I’ll also be posting my art prints that you can buy and links to other LGBTQ+ people’s works. Just share the hell out of it all!” 

The main goal of Tits 4 Tats is summed up by Billy more simply: “Flat chests and gender liberation baby!” So, do what you can to make that a reality.

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