News / Calgary

Calgary mom changes tattoo for her transgender son

Ace Peace felt a bit different growing up, but his family always had his back

The before and after of Lindsay Peace's tattoo of her son Ace, who is transgender.

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The before and after of Lindsay Peace's tattoo of her son Ace, who is transgender.

Ace Peace is quiet, kind, friendly and super funny, according to his dad, Steve.

When he was little, he’d even start his own pyjama day at school when, in fact, it wasn’t PJ day.

“It was just his PJ day. He just didn’t give a s—t, which is good,” Steve said with laugh. “He’s everything you’d hope for.”

But Ace felt a bit different than most kids. He’s a boy, but was born in the wrong body. Ace is transgender.

“I felt kind of different from everyone else,” said Ace, 15, who now attends Crescent Heights High School. “I just didn’t get it, like what exactly was different about me. I just thought I was weird, but nothing that put me out of place or anything.”

He said he doesn’t mind talking about the past, but his family always refers to him as Ace. It doesn’t matter if he was two or 12.  

And his parents have done something to honour that. His mom, Lindsay, recently had a tattoo transformation.

She has tattoos of all three of her kids, but the one of Ace didn’t quite fit the bill.

Prior to the change in ink, Ace was depicted as a typical girl: lots of pink, bows and pigtails.

Now, the tattoo is of a little boy wearing a t-shirt and shorts, including a sling-shot tucked in the collar.

Lindsay said the family changed it because, well, they found themselves in a few awkward situations.

“People would say, ‘Oh, who is on your arm?’” she said. “We were on holidays, and people would say, ‘Is that your kids?’ And here I am with three boys, and very clearly a little girl was on my arm.”

So, they made a few jokes about the tattoo.

“We’d say it’s the neighbour,” she said with a laugh.

The Peace family. From left: Ace, Hamish, Elliot, Lindsay and Steve. Lindsay recently changed her tattoo to better represent her son, Ace.

Jeremy Simes / For Metro

The Peace family. From left: Ace, Hamish, Elliot, Lindsay and Steve. Lindsay recently changed her tattoo to better represent her son, Ace.


At his Grade 9 graduation, Ace told his mom to remove it. But his dad – the artist who had done the original tattoo – had a better idea.

“It was just an easy fix,” he said.

Lindsay said she knew something was up with Ace, but couldn’t put a finger on it.

She thought he might’ve been gay or bisexual, but that wasn’t the case.

“It’s like your getting warmer,” Ace said. “Just move past the B to the T and you’re there.”

And so about a year ago, he wrote his parents a letter on New Years Eve, telling them of his gender identity. He’s since had his passport and birth certificate changed.

“We weren’t surprised,” Steve said. “As parents, you say, ‘Whatever makes you happy,’ and we’ve seen him become happier and happier as time goes on, which makes us happy.”

It was never an issue for Ace’s two brothers, Hamish and Elliott, either.

“It’s a different world these days,” Steve said. “We’re just lucky to live where we do. I think it’d be tough if we lived in a different country, or even the States.”

Though his family is supportive, many trans people are rejected from loved ones, Steve said.

Ace's dad Steve Peace is a professional tattoo artist in Calgary.

Jeremy Simes / For Metro

Ace's dad Steve Peace is a professional tattoo artist in Calgary.

A 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey found 41 percent of transgender and gender non-conforming people had attempted suicide. The national average is 4.6 per cent.

“Parents need to really support their kids in these situations,” he said. “I thought he was happy before, but no — he’s happier now. It’s crazy. He smiles all the time.”