OPINION: Why I would not get a Southern Cross tattoo again

In 2009 I got a tattoo of the Southern Cross on my left foot.

I had thought about it for ages and was confident it was going to always mean something positive to me.

I love Australia. 

I had the idyllic upbringing, grown up on a farm in western Queensland.

As a child I fondly remember searching for the Southern Cross with my parents.

But of my four tattoos, the Southern Cross is the only one I would not get again.

In recent years I've watched in horror as a symbol I love so much has become a badge used to justify beliefs I just don't agree with.

Reclaim Australia brandishing the constellation as they spout their racist views against immigrants.

The stars next to the entirely abhorrent phrase "f*** off, we're full".

The Southern Cross tattoo on drunken idiots as they get filmed committing terrifying violence.

The symbol of our country has become corrupted by beliefs which go against everything Australia stands for.

Now when people see my tattoo, they do not automatically think about how much I love my country.

I can see it in their faces - the snap judgements made from five simple stars.

The association with racism, violence and a fear of the other.

Three of the things I stand against.

I love what my tattoo stands for to me.

Inclusion, a fair go no matter who you are, having a laugh and a good time, and time with my parents looking up at the night sky.

I just wish I didn't have to explain away the stigma.


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