Pink Triangle Lights Up For Its 25th Year

With the help of the Illuminate arts collective and 2,700 LED nodes, the symbol of queer pride and resistance will be installed on Twin...

When San Francisco Pride’s 50th anniversary celebration was cancelled because of the pandemic, it seemed like Twin Peaks’ iconic pink triangle would become a casualty of COVID-19

The Pink Triangle is usually installed at the top of Twin Peaks by a group of over 300 volunteers during Pride Weekend. The triangle covers almost 200 square feet, consisting of over 175 canvases painted pink, and can be seen from across the bay.

LGBTQ+ activist Patrick Carney co-founded the installation, and normally leads its staging. But social distancing protocols and shelter-in-place mandates made its usual effort impossible this year, the Pink Triangle’s 25th anniversary. And so Carney partnered with Illuminate — the Bay Area arts nonprofit behind The Bay Lights. Together they came up with a solution, recreating Carney’s cloth piece with 2,700 LED nodes.

Carney and Illuminate started a GoFundMe to pay for materials and staging. It’s raised just over $60,000 of its $85,000 goal so far.

“I’m very proud to continue our longstanding relationship with San Francisco’s most prominent symbol of queer resilience. Like Pride, The Pink Triangle encourages us to choose compassion over fear,” Fred Lopez, executive director of San Francisco Pride, said in a press release. 

The Pink Triangle, now a symbol for queer pride and resistance, has a dark history. Nazis initially used it in concentration camps to identify gay individuals. Gay activists later reclaimed the triangle in 1970s as a show of solidarity against housing discrimination. It also became a symbol for HIV and AIDS activists. 

“It is important to keep alive the memory of the Holocaust victims and to remind everyone of the consequences of unchecked hatred,” Carney said in a press release. 

On a typical year, hundreds of volunteers stake down tarps to create the Pink Triangle in a community-building event. (Gabrielle Lurie/Special to S.F. Examiner)

The Pink Triangle also aims to spread awareness of hate crimes — and hopefully prevent them. It recognizes the brutality that queer people like Matthew Shepard, Allen Schindler, Brandon Teena, and many others have been subjected to.

A Pink Torch Procession will march from Oakland to San Francisco before the lighting of the Pink Triangle. Beginning in Oakland’s Lake Merritt at 2 p.m., the march will wind its way to the Bay Bridge, progress to San Francisco’s Ferry Building, and is scheduled to arrive at Twin Peaks at 8:30 p.m.

The procession will feature drag actor and activist Donna Sachet, former SF Pride President Gary Virginia, founder of Oakland Pride Joe Hawkins and representatives from Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, an SF-based charity and street performance organization that uses drag to protest sexual intolerance. Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf and SF mayor London Breed will also join. 

Illuminate will livestream the lighting on its Facebook page. The Pink Triangle will stay lit for three weeks through July 10. 

Global Grand Lighting: Illuminate The Pink Triangle
June 27, 9 p.m. Free.
Twin Peaks
thepinktriangle.com

Emily Zhang is an intern at SF Weekly. She covers arts and culture. 

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