Autumn's Transgender Freya Tattoo - February 2008 PhotographI posted a picture of my new Freya tattoo, along with a description of the tattoo elements, in diary entitled The Hammerhead Is Great — Wanna See My New Tattoo?


Well, I mailed off a deposit today. With The Learning Channel (TLC) rolling cameras, I’m tentatively scheduled to get a tattoo at the LA Ink studio during the second or third week in January. If/when TLC broadcasts the show, it will be sometime “next season” — whenever that might begin.

Autumn SandeenSooooo, let me back up a little bit. I had a twenty-year Navy career, and believe it or not I never succumbed to getting a tattoo. Don’t get me wrong — I wasn’t against getting a tattoo, but I had no idea what I wanted to put on my body that I’d be happy to wear for the rest of my life. However, since I retired from the Navy — and since I’ve transitioned — I’ve thought long and hard about what kind of tattoo I might want.

And, what I decided I wanted a few years ago was that I really wanted a tattoo of the Norse goddess Freya. My family name — Sandeen — is an Americanized spelling of the Swedish Sandin, so I wanted a tattoo related to my Swedish ancestry. And, I wanted a tattoo that reflected that I’d always had a female soul. Since Freya is roughly the equivalent goddess in the Norse pantheon as the goddess Venus is in the Greco-Roman pantheon, a tattoo of Freya seemed to fit the bill.

After deciding, I just hadn’t found the right tattoo parlor or artist to do the tattoo.  But then I watched LA Ink. There they were: Female tattoo artists in a studio that wasn’t bathed in testosterone.

And then in November, I saw an episode that included a casting call commercial for the show. So, I went online and submitted an entry, never figuring they’d ever get back to me.

But, they called me in for a casting interview. I guess they liked my narrative for the tattoo and my performance on the casting interview video — this week they called and asked me if I wanted to come in for a tattoo this January. I said yes, and then…well, we’re back to me sending the deposit for the tattoo this morning.

[Painting that will be the starting point for the tattoo after the break]Freya's FlightBy the way, I gave the LA Ink casting folk, as a “starting point” for my tattoo, a link to Van Stassen’s painting of Freya’s Flight. Peel away the ornamental framing around Freya, and what I’d like is a reinterpreted version of that center section of her and the sea, with seabirds around her. (I like that the sea is in this painting — having the sea in the tattoo relates well to my long Navy career.)

There’s a meaning to the number of seabirds I want in the tattoo, and there’s another element or two I want in the tattoo that will represent different aspects of my life that…Well, I’m not commenting about those details here. You’ll just have to watch the show when it plays on TLC to find out other details what’s going to be in the Freya tattoo. (What? You want me to spill the beans on the tattoo and not make you to watch the show to get the details? Heavens to Murgatroid!)

Oh — I forgot to say where on my body I want this tattoo, how big I want it, and do I want it in color.

1. Location: Back, right shoulder area.

2. Size: About eight inches high.

3. Color/black-and-white: Color.

Anywho, I thought my future tattoo/television appearance might be a good subject for a weekend post. I’ll of course keep everyone posted to the status of the Freya tattoo and the LA Ink episode in future weeks.


Autumn Sandeen

Autumn Sandeen