Except it's not an issue
Words by Nico Tortorella
As I imagine my next tattoo, prepare for my next mark, I take off all my clothes and stand in the mirror. Facing myself head on, head out, I stare at the inked emblems that came before this present moment. The scars of hearts leaving nickel trails on my skin and the space between. The journal of times before and the people that came with. The lovers and best friends. The portraits of family members programmed, the guardian angels. The words and symbols that prompt visceral response both personally and interpersonally. The tattoos on pregnant skin penetrated. Facing the man that I am, I imagine how I will feel with this tattoo on me, inside me.
Getting a tattoo is like having sex. I need to establish a relationship with the concept before I lay naked on that bed to get stabbed repeatedly. I need to fall in love with the idea of the image before the lube. Before we make this permanent, I need to create space on my body and in my heart in order to authorize the union. The beauty of these unions is that they are all intrinsically exclusive. They look different, smell different, feel different. And now more than ever, it’s important to value what makes us unique.
We are living in the golden age of sexual and gender liberation. I believe it to be one of the most fascinating conversations we are having, but it’s so much more than just a conversation, It’s a way of life for so many. How did we get to the point, where we have 71 different gender options on Facebook and enough sexual orientations to confuse even the most seasoned gay. I don’t have those answers, but let’s be honest, it’s about time the conversation progressed.
My own sexuality and gender exploration have been topics of conversation ever since I was old enough to understand the physical act and even more so since going public with my always evolving stance on personal identity and the emotional exchange. I want to be clear that when I speak of myself and my story, in no way am I casting generalizations on the entire community. I prefer to imagine each and every single one of us as an individual, and the more we all honor each other as individuals, the more respect for each other we will all have. For me the only way to truly understand a label is to try and understand a person.
I am a proud member, advocate, activist, and ally for all things LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, etc.) Today I identify firstly as a human being (most of the time). I am an actor, an author, an artist, a lover, a future husband, a son and brother. I am a masculine, cisgenderish dude who uses he/him pronouns. I am a bi+, fluid, queer, polyamorous, demisexual and I know that’s a fucking mouthful, but I usually am. So, let’s break that down, yea?