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
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
“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.