“I’ve had multiple jobs deny me access to a good employment because I choose to have jewelry, earrings as in plugs, nose piercing, tattoos not on my face but behind my ear. I’ve had them say I had to cover up, which would result in me being very uncomfortable. It’s problematic because it takes away from people being themselves, and it takes away from the individuality of the person. I think that if jobs were accepting for those who were as they are, I feel like their business would be successful either way. (Neither) my piercing nor my tattoo has an impact on the quality of work that I can give out. I work the same way. I work happy, with a smile on my face when I can be myself. … I’ve actually had a couple of jobs tell me I had to go get my (piercing, tattoo) removed in order for me to get employment. And, I’m sorry, but I won’t work for a fast food restaurant that’s going to tell me to remove a tattoo that I love and that brings a lot of meaning. … My tattoo, which is a bunch of (musical) notes — they resemble my love for music and my passion (for) who I want to be, which is a music therapist, a line of career that I’m going for, and I hope that when I’m my own boss, I won’t have to ever have to deal with it again.
“When I got my nose piercing, it was a big thing for me. When I did it, it was kind of like me breaking out of my shell. There were a lot of parts of me that I was hiding. When I got these tattoos, got this piercing and started doing the things I wanted to do, I lived in a life where I couldn’t be an individual. I actually had to be cookie cutter, I had to be just like everybody else because that’s how I was raised, and when I was finally out on my own … I was finally able to be who I wanted to be, and it took me a while to bring up the courage to do these things, but once I did, it was one of the best choices that I’ve ever had in my entire life, and I will never change it for the world. No one could ever pay me enough money to take out my piercing.”