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39+ Sapphic and lesbian tattoo ideas for your next queer-friendly tattoo shop visit

Robyn Exton

Feb 28, 2023

39+ Sapphic and lesbian tattoo ideas for your next queer-friendly tattoo shop visit
  • Getting a tattoo is one of the more creative and fun ways to take control of your own body, especially if you’re a lesbian or sapphic person looking to honor your queer identity. To get you started on your journey, these are our best lesbian tattoo ideas and their meanings to start your research with, along with a guideline on how to find a queer-friendly tattoo shop. 

    Whether you want to make a bold statement about your lesbian or sapphic identity or choose a simple design to show your pride, selecting a tattoo can take some time. Or, maybe you wake up after a wild night and find that you didn’t put much thought into your fresh tattoo that you don’t remember getting! We’ve all been there… or have we? We don’t judge, promise. 😉

    Worry not! A little tattoo research never hurt anyone. A thoughtful, cool tattoo can be the perfect icebreaker — for the next date you meet through the HER app, of course — and perhaps even a gateway to matching tattoos. 

    If you’re feeling spontaneous, we’ve got some quick ideas for you to take to your local tattoo parlor. On the other hand, if you want to spend more time putting together a meaningful tattoo, it’s worth learning about different design inspirations, tattooing techniques, as well as guidelines for finding local queer-friendly tattoo shops and artists. Either way, this list of 39+ tattoos for sapphics and lesbian couples is a great jumping-off point. 

    Disclaimer: This list is solely for inspirational purposes. Please keep in mind that for many tattoo artists, designs are unique, so please do not steal their artwork. Any good-faith artist will not tattoo someone else’s design unless there is express permission (sometimes called a tattoo ticket) from the original designer.

    Anything can be gay if you put your mind to it, or so we’d like to think, but that goes for tattoos too. Sometimes the tattoo can be right on the nose, with colors from the lesbian, bisexual, and trans flags. Other times, the tattoo itself is a long walk from any identifiable lesbian symbols, but it can still honor your story and sexuality in a unique, personal way. Similarly, anything can be a matching tattoo for couples if you get creative with it. 

    All that said, look at the following inspirations, categorized by theme, which can be used for gay pride tattoos for yourself or matching tattoos for you and your partner(s).

    Get a minimalist pride tattoo

    If you’re a fan of simple and understated tattoos, a minimalistic design can be a great choice. 

    A simple rainbow (dotted) line tattoo 

    A simple colored line with the gradient colors of the bisexual, pansexual, or lesbian flag can be a subtle yet powerful way to show pride.

    In Bloom Tattoo Co. is a queer- and trans-owned tattoo parlor in Ottawa, Canada, with tattoo artists like Beckyd Tattoo who has experience with tattooing on black skin. 

    Rainbow ear tattoo

    Jumping off the line tattoo idea, consider a rainbow ear for a unique and eye-catching tattoo. This fun and colorful design features rainbow- (or other pride-) colored lines that wrap around your ear and make a bold statement about your queerness. If you have pierced ears, the lines can act like an extra colorful accessory.

    Small paintbrush tattoos with pride colors

    Tattoos can mean more than one thing. If you’re an artist, a paintbrush could symbolize your artistry, while the colors could symbolize your sexuality. So many ways to go about this idea to get your meaning across.

    Lesbian tattoos of hands

    For gays, it’s all about the hands. It’s a common trope that sapphics love to see, and it shows up in LGBT+ media quite often. Once you see it, you can’t unsee it, so maybe you want to see it forever on your body. 

    We don’t just mean a tattoo on your hand, but rather the image of the hands themselves. It’s a symbol of touch and connection, and in the LGBT+ world, celebrating the power of touch with a hand tattoo can be a subversive way to show your love for other women. The tattoo can be anywhere on your body, including your hands.

    Women! The obvious choice for wlw tattoos

    Sometimes, the best lesbian tattoo symbol can be as simple as honoring the female form.  After all, sapphics love women, so tattoos of women seem like an easy choice. Whether you opt for a simple silhouette or a more elaborate design, a woman-themed tattoo,  a good first question to ask yourself is: what does womanhood mean to you? Here are our ideas.

    Martha Mitchell-Gillespie @lilybluetattoo is a sapphic tattoo artist based in Paris, France. Her specialty tattooing technique is hand-poked.

    Your partner’s body type as a silhouette tattoo

    For a truly unique and personalized tattoo, consider getting inked with the silhouette of your partner’s body type. This is a great idea for lesbian couple tattoos, where you each get each other’s silhouette. 

    Get matching silhouette tattoos with your partner from queer fineline tattooist Chloe from Taurus Moon Tattoo, based in Tacoma, Washington.

    Goddesses of femininity 

    Artemis of the classical Roman mythology represents femininity. Other cultural symbols of women are Gaia as the ancestral mother in Greek mythology and Shakti, the Hindu goddess of femininity. 

    When choosing these symbols of femininity, it’s important to keep in mind cultural differences, as it’s a common problem that people get symbols from other cultures without fully understanding their significance, which can lead to awkward moments. Keep that in mind when choosing your symbol of womanhood!

    Find more of Katie Girl Tattoos—a Rapid City, South Dakota, based artist—on Instagram @katiegirltattoo

    The double venus symbol 

    Speaking of mythological characters, Venus is a staple in classical Roman mythology and is a powerful and iconic representation of female identity, and it can be a great choice for a sapphic-themed tattoo. And of course, when you have two venus symbols together, it represents sapphic love. As you see in the example below, it’s the perfect lesbian tattoo symbol.

    Lesbian and sapphic astronomy tattoos

    Let’s broaden our horizons to the cosmos. Space bis, this one’s for you, but of course, all space-loving sapphics are welcome, too.

    OK Tattoo, based in Los Angeles, California, has some queer tattooers who can make your astronomy-themed tattoos come to life, like in this picture of a galaxy back tattoo.

    Sun and moon lesbian tattoo

    A cute matching tattoo idea is to get a sun and moon with your partner. This one can be a very minimalistic basic design.

    Get some matching sun and moon tattoos from LGBT tatoo artist Sylar Pan @tattoosylar on Instagram, based in Houston, Texas.

    A star map or constellation of when and where you first met

    A star map can be more elaborate than a sun and moon tattoo; but a lot more personalized. You can easily Google the night sky of the date and location of when you and your partner first met, or any other particular first time, and get creative with how you design it. You can choose to highlight the constellations in the sky from that night or any particular astronomical phenomenon that may have been occurring at that time, such as comets or eclipses.

    Tattooist Yeonnie specializes in colorful fine-line tattoos, and is also an artist at the LGBT-friendly tattoo parlor Area 6 Tattoo Studio in Manhattan.

    LGBT+ quote & text-based ideas for tattoos

    Quotes are an excellent way to express oneself, so for your next tattoo, getting some iconic words is definitely an option. For the queer community, we’ve got quotes that relate to our experiences, from memes to book quotes to song lyrics. It’s just a matter of choosing the one that resonates most with you.

    Meme it up to get inked up

    Here’s some good news: it’s not a crime to get “be gay, do crime” tattooed on you. 

    They.Tattoo is a queer tattoo studio in Lisbon, Portugal, and this “BE QUEER DO CRIME” tattoo is by Ukranian tattoo artist Bardak Tattoo.

    U-Haul it to matching tattoos with your partner

    So you’ve met the One, and you’re ready to U-Haul it. The term “U-Hauling” is often used in the lesbian community to describe moving in together very quickly after starting a relationship. It can be a playful tattoo idea to get a U-Haul truck tattoo or matching tattoos that represent your commitment to each other. 

    Find this artist, Becca, at To the Nines Tattoo parlor in Springfield, Missouri.

    Literary quotes as tattoo inspo – from lesbian and queer books, movies, and TV shows 

    You could choose a literary quote from a lesbian author or a quote from a famous queer icon. Need some inspiration? Look to our list of 7 Lesbian books for the hopeless romantics and 15 Lesbian quotes to impress your crush.

    Base your tattoo design on queer lyricism

    Check out the music from 10 Lesbian singers you must have on your playlist for quote tattoo inspirations.

    Fictional lesbian and queer characters to get tatted 

    If you’re a fan of books, movies, or TV shows, there are many sapphic characters and stories that you can draw inspiration from. You can get so creative with it! 

    Marceline from Adventure Time

    See this example of Marceline, a lesbian character from Adventure Time. Such a wholesome tattoo!

    Shego from Kim Possible 

    It’s a running joke that if you loved Shego’s character from Kim Possible growing up, you’re probably gay now. This tat is a fun opportunity to get some neon green on you!

    Get more character tattoo inspiration from 25 lesbian movies, 27 bisexual movies, and 10 bisexual characters in movies, tv shows, and beyond featured on the HER blog.

    Birth symbols to honor the fact that you were born this way

    Self-love can be explored using different symbols representing your birth month or year. This, like almost anything on this list, can be a useful point of reference for lesbian couple tattoos. 


    Many people choose to get tattoos of their birthstones or birth flowers as a way of celebrating their birth month.

    Birth flowers

    Flowers can be a beautiful representation of femininity for many people, but why not take it a step further and get your birth flower or your partner(s) birth flower(s) tatted on you? 

    The picture shows a detailed flower tattoo by Inked by Whit, a Brooklyn-based queer tattoo artist. You can book them on their website for flash tattoos or other kinds of tattoos on their website.

    Zodiac signs 

    Zodiac signs are another popular tattoo choice. You can choose to get your own zodiac sign as a tattoo, or you and your partner can get matching tattoos of each other’s signs to represent your connection.

    Zodiac signs tattoos

    Source: Board Panda

    Animal tattoos that represent LGBT+ identities

    Animals can be symbolic of many, many things. Here are some common symbolic animals for LGBT+ identities. 

    Cardinal couples tattoo

    Frisco Tattoo parlor is an LGBT-friendly tattoo shop in Rogers, Arkansas, where you can request amazing couple tattoos based on your favorite queer characters. If you’ve read the book by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone, This is How You Lose the Time War, you know how cardinals are symbolic of the star-crossed lesbian lovers in this a futuristic sci-fi book. Or you can just get tattoos of birds because you like birds!

    Cat tattoo

    So maybe you’re a lesbian cat mom and want to get your tabby tatted on you. We don’t blame you, because cats are adorable.

    Moth tattoo

    For trans and non-binary tattoo ideas, a moth can symbolize transformation. Apparently, moth tattoos are also an inside joke for bisexuals too. 


    What better way to smash the patriarchy than with weapons? All jokes aside—because the patriarchy could seriously use some overhauling—we’ve gathered some weapons that you can consider to represent the strength of your sapphic identity.


    Twin daggers (or more!) are a cool idea to represent bisexuality and attraction to more than one gender. Apparently, there’s even a bisexual dagger tattoo side of TikTok to prove it.

    Tattoo done at Drawing Board Tattoo, a local queer-friendly tattoo shop in Asheville, North Carolina.

    Swords tattoo inspiration for queer women

    Take dagger a step further and go for a sword design. Remember, you can always add some prideful colors in there to give it a clear symbol of identity, or keep it subtle with black and white.

    Labrys axe tattoo for lesbians and sapphics

    Just like @ashsapphic on TikTok said, when you’ve got a labrys axe tattoo, there’s some fruity undertones there. 

    Away with gender roles

    Honoring sapphics who challenge gender norms and non-binary lesbians and WLW can be done in many ways, including getting a tattoo that challenges gender roles. So if you’re looking for gender-smashing non-binary tattoo ideas.

    Lindoyle Tattoo shares trans joy in this tattoo showing the upper body of a person wearing a flower crown and showing their top surgery scars as they lift their arms. For more from this queer-friendly tattooist in Arkansas, find them on instagram at @lindoyle_tattoo.

    Gravestone tattoo

    Get a  gravestone tattoo that reads “gender roles” to symbolize your rejection of traditional gender expectations.

    Show your rejection of gender roles with a gravestone tattoo. While the original Gender Gravestone design was not by Brooklyn based queer-friendly artist Jonah Weintraub (@halfbackwards), they provided a professional tune-up for this non-binary tattoo.

    A lipstick lesbian tattoo

    Reclaiming femininity can be a powerful statement for sapphic women, and is a rejection of gender roles in and of itself since feminine women are expected to be attracted to men, according to heteronormative society. Getting a lipstick tattoo can be a way to reclaim your femininity, and it can be an excellent conversation starter about gender and sexuality.

    A lipstick tattoo is the perfect way to show your femme lesbian pride. This design was done at the LGBT-friendly Diamond Tattoo parlor in San Antonio, Texas.

    Show your values with feminist tattoos

    Love for other women also means sisterhood and solidarity beyond romantic and sexual relationships. Here are some examples of how you can show that.

    Transfeminist fist tattoo

    There are so many symbols of feminism to choose from, but the transfeminism activist symbol is particularly powerful since it emphasized the role transwomen have played in the feminist movements. Perfect for trans lesbians and sapphics out there who want to own their identity. 

    This transfeminist symbol was tattooed by tattooist Sarah Sun at the trans-friendly and woman-owned Balm Tattooing parlor in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

    Hanger tattoo

    The hanger is a hard-hitting symbol that represents the pain behind reproductive rights. Symbols can mean so much more than the surface, as reproductive rights affects everyone from cis women to trans men and beyond, but a hanger can be a poignant starting point for reflection and conversation.

    “Smash the patriarchy” with this tattoo

    Women who love women smash the patriarchy by just being who they are. Getting this tattooed on you will only emphasize that truth.

    Finding a queer-friendly tattoo shop or artist near you: what to look for

    Safety always comes first for our community, so general guidelines for (queer) tattoo shopping are in order. Whether you’re out or not, it’s a good idea to first check in with yourself about whether you feel comfortable going to a new tattoo parlor with obviously gay tattoo ideas. 

    If you’re looking for queer-friendly tattoo shops, we’ve made a point to source images from mostly US-based and queer-friendly tattoo shops, so you are welcome to see if any of these artists or parlors are near you.

    Tattoo aftercare

    Another thing to consider, if you have darker skin, you definitely want to check out the artist’s Instagram, because if it’s all thin white women, that can be a red flag. It’s also a good idea to look at an artist’s healed work, especially for people with darker skin to make sure the artist knows what they’re doing! Remember that tattoos over the years can fade in color, and lines can become thicker as the ink settles deep into the skin, so sometimes touch-ups are in order.

    As a point of reference, tattoos typically take 2 to 3 weeks to heal on the surface, and longer for the skin under the surface to heal. This is why you should always follow your tattoo artist’s guidelines on aftercare (like, always wear your sunscreen!)

    Queer flash tattoos and custom tattoo tickets 

    If you’re not out yet as LGBT+ or don’t live near any queer-friendly tattoo parlors, but still want to work with a queer tattoo artist, you can get what’s called tattoo tickets and get the tattoo done stealthily with your local artist. For those interested in commissioning designs to get tattooed by another artist, it’s best to communicate with the artist and explain the situation. 

    Some artists sell tattoo tickets online, which allows the buyer to take the design to a local artist to get it tattooed. But not all artists provide tattoo tickets, and it may be more beneficial to get tattooed by the artist personally, especially for those who want to be intentional in finding a queer artist for safety reasons. That may not always be possible, so choose the course of action that puts your comfort and safety first. 

    Tattoo artists also common do flash tattoo sales, which is when they provide pre-drawn and pre-colored designs so you are fully aware of what you’re getting, instead of coming up with the design concept yourself and the artist creating it for you. So if there’s a queer tattoo artist from this article that you love but don’t live near, you can keep an eye out on their flash designs and potentially request a tattoo ticket. 

    We’re sure you’ll get some creative juices flowing now that you’ve reviewed all these sapphic and lesbian tattoo meanings. Whether you opt for a simple design, a couple’s design, or a more elaborate one, the most important thing is to choose a tattoo that speaks to your identity and expresses your queerness in a way that feels authentic and empowering.

    Robyn Exton

    Robyn is the CEO & Founder of HER. Find her on Twitter.

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