Do You Remember the Pink Triangle?
The teens at the local high school are starting up a Gay-Straight Alliance, or GSA, something that has been lacking for several years and which the new administration supports. Part of that process, of course, is to give the group an identity the way any other school group would work on its cohesiveness. The kids have chosen a name for themselves and are now working on such things as a logo design.
The rainbow flag was an obvious design element, but as MamaOzzy3881 played with some different logo options I noticed there was an inverted triangle near the center of her image. I asked if she was going to colour it pink, and she wondered why. I realized at that moment that she doesn't know about the pink triangle!
In Nazi prison camps an inverted triangle was used as an identifying mark to designate different kinds of prisoners – from “professional criminals” and Jehovah's witnesses, to political prisoners and the “antisocial” element who were often disabled or mentally ill. A pink triangle marked homosexual men, along with others who were deemed sexual deviants.
Years later the symbol of the pink triangle was reclaimed by gay men, and for a time was used by some as a sign for the LGBT community as a whole. It has largely been replaced by other symbols such as the rainbow flag but there are a number of monuments around the world that incorporate a pink triangle in homage to gay men who died at the hands of the Nazis, and for LGBT people in general who have been bullied and oppressed.
The monument in the photo is the Dutch Homomonument, in Amsterdam. The monument consists of a set of three triangles made of pink granite. The platform jutting out into the water is one of the three triangles. I can remember, about 25 years ago now, when a gay friend of mine went to visit family in Holland and was told to go visit this landmark. When he returned to Canada, one of the most significant memories of his trip was that monument. At a time when he was identifying very strongly not just as a gay man, but as a member of the gay community, it meant a great deal to him to see a city pay homage. I was very pleased this brought my friend both pride and comfort.
Image credit: Homomonument in Amsterdam by La Sequencia/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
(Note: Having a little trouble with the image upload, just now. But you can see it by clicking the link until I iron out the wrinkles...)
Image Credit » http://www.flickr.com/photos/sequencia/543350024/