Dozens of LGBTQ advocates and local officials marched from Oakland to San Francisco’s Twin Peaks on Tuesday to take part in the official illumination ceremony of the acre-sized Pink Triangle, marking the first day of Pride Month.
The event began at noon as more than 30 torchbearers and others took part in a Pink Torch Procession that started at Oakland City Hall and wound around Lake Merritt. The assembly, joined by Mayor Libby Schaaf, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and Dykes on Bikes, then continued across the Bay Bridge with a pink torch they delivered to San Francisco Mayor London Breed for the official illumination ceremony.
“The hope that it inspires is standing out here in the freezing cold today,” Breed told the audience during the fog-bound ceremony. “Nothing is stopping us from lighting up the Pink Triangle in San Francisco tonight.”
Tuesday’s event capped days of planning, during which volunteers installed the 26th annual Pink Triangle on Twin Peaks on Saturday afternoon and spent two days testing its 27,000 LED nodes that were provided by Illuminate, the nonprofit organization behind the light display on the Bay Bridge.
The triangle will be lit nightly throughout the month of June. Volunteers will return on July 1 to take it down.
The installation of the triangle is a community-building event “which brings together LGBTQs with families from across the Bay Area who turn out to volunteer to install the giant display and learn about LGBTQs person-to-person,” organizers said last week. “Many families bring children to meet us as individuals and to learn the ‘History of the Pink Triangle’ during the ceremony.”
Head organizer Patrick Carney, in a news release, said the triangle itself is a reminder and a warning of what can happen when groups are singled out as they were in Nazi Germany, which used the symbol to brand homosexuals as undesirable, just as triangles of other colors were used to distinguish other segments of the population not deemed wanted.
“It is the same kind of senseless, irrational hatred that still haunts gays, Jews, Blacks, Asians, transgender persons and other minorities today,” Carney said, nodding to the recent Asian American Pacific Islander attacks in the city and the Black Lives Matter movement.
“We mustn’t forget that all communities include LGBTQ people within their group, so those persons face a possible double-dose of discrimination and sometimes violence,” Carney said.
San Francisco has showcased the Pink Triangle alongside the rainbow flag for 26 years, and it is the only city in the world to do so, Carney said.
“There is much to be done, and education is the key! That is why the huge one-acre Pink Triangle is still being installed after all of the decades — it is a giant one-acre learning tool,” Carney said.
More information about the Pink Triangle can be found on the organization’s website.