Gay man refused tattoo because he’s HIV-positive

A gay man says he was refused service at one of the UK’s biggest tattoo studios – because he is HIV-positive.

George Westwood, a 19-year-old Sociology student at the University of Birmingham had gone to the Vida Loca studio in Bolton, Greater Manchester, to get a tattoo representing his journey with HIV.

The student told the business about his HIV status as a courtesy after paying his deposit, only for them to refuse to serve him because of it.

Although his tattooist apologised, she said that her manager would not let her carry out the procedure – and that he would have to collect his deposit back.

Westwood told PinkNews: “I rang them and told them about my status and the tattoo artist said she wasn’t sure if she was going to be able to do it, so she would speak to her boss.

“I received a phone call [on May 26] to say, ‘No, we can’t do it.’ I wasn’t offered any explanation and [told] that I should just go and collect my deposit.”

The 19-year-old student was left shocked and upset at the refusal.

George Westwood was diagnosed in February (Credit: George Westwood)

“I was just expecting a ‘thanks for letting us know,’ I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. But I got a completely different response to what I expected.

“It did upset me, it did shock me – I nearly cried at work.”

He added: “I feel like I’ve made so much progress in such a short space of time, and it feels like all that progress has been thrown back in my face.”

Comments (0)

MyPinkNews members are invited to comment on articles to discuss the content we publish, or debate issues more generally. Please familiarise yourself with our community guidelines to ensure that our community remains a safe and inclusive space for all.

Loading Comments