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    The 23rd Pink Triangle Is Arriving the Weekend of June 23–24

    By Patrick Carney–

    Why is the Pink Triangle display still relevant after 23 years?

    Because history really can repeat, and it does so when people remain unaware of our past. After years of progress, the LGBTQ community has enjoyed much success raising awareness of our history and of our journey for equality. However, in the past year, there has been a concerted effort by some in power to deny the humanity of certain groups of people—like the Nazis did—by trying to convince people that some minorities are “the other,” and not one of us. Just as Hitler did, our president has called select groups “animals,” less than full-persons. 

    Using that logic, rhetoric and tone, targeted people can be denied dignity, denied equality and denied justice. Perpetrators can get away with almost anything if they succeed in de-humanizing others. 

    The Pink Triangle Commemoration on Twin Peaks recalls how easily a government like Germany’s Third Reich went about devising minority scapegoats. They created an array of colored triangles to label those they deemed “undesirables.” Branding homosexuals as criminals let most Germans feel comfortable looking the other way, while the Nazis went about their persecution.

    Can this happen again? Can it happen here? Is a gradual process of de-humanization taking place now in this country to stigmatize certain groups? Opinion polls show that for the first time in decades, public acceptance of LGBTQs is actually going down. 

    Speakers at the Pink Triangle Commemoration will address these matters on Saturday, June 23, at 10:30 am. And they will give an international perspective.

    Guest Speakers

    Cleve Jones will be telling the “History of the Pink Triangle” at the beginning of the ceremony. Jones conceived the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. He is author of the book When We Rise: My Life in the Movement (Hachette Books, 2016), which was adapted into the ABC program When We Rise in 2017. Jones was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1987.

    The speakers will also include German Consul General Hans-Ulrich Suedbeck, who will introduce his husband and their two children at the ceremony. What better image of how far Germany has progressed since the horrors of the Holocaust’s pink triangle? Germany is now one of the LGBTQ-friendliest places on Earth. It is ironic that the current German Chancellor had to remind our U.S. president to respect our two nations’ common value of the “dignity of man—independent of origin, skin color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political views.” It seems the tables have been turned a bit. 

    Additionally speaking at the ceremony will be French Consul General Emmanuel Lebrun-Damiens. He is bringing Minister Schiappa, who is France’s “Minister for Equality between Women and Men” (as such, she is also in charge of LGBT issues for France).

    Other speakers include local and statewide elected officials, some Grand Marshals of the parade, plus the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band (the “Official Band” of San Francisco and “Organizational Grand Marshal” of the parade), along with musical theater star Leanne Borghesi. 

    The Pink Triangle is a giant, in your face, educational tool. The nearly one-acre display is made of 175 bright pink tarps and nearly five thousand 12-inch-long steel spikes. The display is 200 feet long on each leg and can be seen for 20 miles. 

    Patrick Carney is a Co-Founder of The Friends of the Pink Triangle. The group, with the help of many dedicated volunteers, constructs a gigantic pink triangle on Twin Peaks each year during the last weekend in June. Carney, who worked on the restoration of San Francisco City Hall, was appointed to the City Hall Preservation Advisory Commission in 2013.

    Pink Triangle Volunteers Are Needed

    The Pink Triangle doesn’t just magically float up onto Twin Peaks each year!

    Here are three fun options to volunteer:

    1. Outline Install

    Friday, June 22, from 1:30 pm to 5 pm

    1. Main Installation

    Saturday, June 23, from 7 am–10 am with Ceremony at 10:30 am

    1. De-Installation

    Sunday, June 24, from 4:30 pm–8 pm (after the parade). This is the day we get the fewest volunteers and therefore is the hardest day. Please help to take down the Pink Triangle. Even for just an hour, please! “Many hands make light work.”

    One need not stay the entire time for any of the above. Even an hour of help on any, or all, days is a huge help!