Pink triangle co-founder wants people to remember history

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He is credited with bringing an increased awareness of Nazi atrocities

during World War II to a new generation of LGBT people and their

straight allies. Now, Patrick Carney will be honored by the San

Francisco Pride board of directors as the iconic pink triangle installation

he co-founded marks its 20th anniversary.

Carney is this year’s Gilbert Baker Pride Founder’s Award recipient, and

was selected by the board of the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration

Committee. For the 20th year, Carney, assisted by a large group of

volunteers, will install the giant pink triangle atop Twin Peaks over

Pride weekend, June 27-28.

The brief installation – the triangle is only up from Saturday morning to

Sunday evening – is meant to convey a history lesson and perhaps

inspire people to learn more about a Pride symbol rooted in humiliation

and discrimination.

The pink triangle was used by the Nazis in concentration camps to

identify and shame homosexuals. In the camps, gays were forced to

wear the pink triangle on their breast pockets to identify them and to set

them apart from other prisoners.

Of course, it wasn’t just the gays who were forced to wear identifying

patches. Jews had to wear yellow, Gypsies were forced to wear brown,

and so on.

But beginning more than two decades ago, LGBTs started to reclaim the

pink triangle, turning it into a symbol of Pride.

The pink triangle that’s installed on Twin Peaks has been admired by

locals and visitors alike, and first appeared in 1996. It’s made up of

more than 175 bright pink canvasses and measures 200 feet across. It is

close to an acre in size and, depending on the weather, can be seen for

nearly 20 miles.

Carney said he was pleasantly surprised when informed of the Pride

award.

“I am honored by the acknowledgement of nearly two decades of the

pink triangle educational effort and hope it might remind others of the

many struggles our forebears went through to get to where we are as a

community today; they made great sacrifices which we can only

imagine,” he told the Bay Area Reporter.

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