Tattoo Discrimination? Apartment Building Bans Anyone with Tattoos and Piercings

An interesting fight is brewing in San Antonio over a new type of alleged discrimination. Gilbert Carrillo was not only denied a lease but lost his application fee due to his tattoos, which he views as an art form. Lawyers for the landlord confirmed that they “reject prospective tenants who have… tattoos exposed on the neck, head, hands and wrists, or large tattoos that cover over 40% of the lower or upper arm.” Such discrimination does not in itself constitute violations of the federal housing rules or even the constitution. Unless used against individuals based on race, religious, or gender (or in some cities sexual orientation), it is not a form of actionable discrimination. On one side, there is the right of individuals to contract freely, including their right of exclusion. On the other side are people who are being rejected solely on their appearance — much in the same way that race or gender is used as a barrier. This has long been a tough call. Food establishments are allowed to deny service on some appearance criteria — though clothes are easier to add than tattoos are to remove (at least from the face or neck where they cannot be covered). For the full story, click

7 thoughts on “Tattoo Discrimination? Apartment Building Bans Anyone with Tattoos and Piercings”

  1. See my entire issue with your statment rick. How do you hold any kind of weight to judge any one. Who are you to judge first off? Tattoos are a form of art expressing strong feelings that the wearer wants to share. You have every right to ignore these feeling the wearer has expressed! tattoos are not illegal. Have you ever commited a crime? Maybe something as simple as speeding? Thousands of people die each year because of , but you judge some one because of art? Silly don’t you think? Look I’m only saying if you feel you must form an opinion about someone why not base it on the person as an individual and not something so superficial. You could start with having a conversation. Maybe work ethic
    Rick there are an array of areas you could attack. I just think you sell yourself short by being so quick to “judge” evaluate each person for who they are.. good luck

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  3. Really Rick? However they want to? You sanction judging people based on race then? Creed? People need to let go of ALL of their prejudices. They do not serve society well at all.

  4. Tracy –

    You have the freedom to express yourself. But people have the right to judge others however they want to. If that includes tattoos, visible or not – some people are going to judge you on it; positively or negatively. Others won’t judge at all.

    We do have the right to judge you though. Just like you have the right to judge me to be a hater. What is this aversion to judgement anyway? It’s the only thing we really have to form the basis for choices.

    – Rick

  5. I think it is absolutely ridiculous for anyone to be judged solely on the fact that they have tattoos. Tattoos and piercings are simply a way of expressing ones individuality. It is an outdated assumption to believe that people with tattoos and piercings are criminals, drug dealers or prostitutes. There is a growing number of people with each new generation that express themselves in this way. I have a hard enough time understanding why this kind of discrimination happens in the work place but this case is even worse. There should be a change in the laws that protect people like Gilbert Carrillo and I. This should be treated just as racial, sexual and age discrimination. We may have chosen to put these designs on our bodies but they are part of who we are, and without them we would not be the same people. I would not feel like I was whole without my body art. It is the art of a canvas that was once blank, if you want a blank canvas thats fine with me, but I do not.

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