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Sunday, 8 June 2008

San Francisco remembers Iranian gays

A huge Pink Triangle, visible for miles, will be erected during this years LGBT Pride celebrations in San Francisco "to make sure it doesn't happen again. Because it is happening again. It's happening in Iran, among other places."

Those are the words of Patrick Carney, who established the Friends of the Pink Triangle that has for the last 12 years erected the giant monument on San Francisco's Twin Peaks during Pride weekend.

The triangle originates from the badge that more than 50,000 gay prisoners were forced to wear in Nazi concentration camps. Now, Carney and the Friends of the Pink Triangle are ensuring that the LGBT community remembers what came before.

"People who forget history are doomed to repeat it," Carney said. That's why in 1996, Carney and two friends, Tom Tremblay and Michael Brown, decided to create a visible reminder over Pride weekend.

"Me and [Tom] were having lunch on Market Street. We looked up at the hill, wondering what to do for Pride, and thought, there's a big blank canvas there," Carney said.

That weekend, Carney and about 15 people built a large pink triangle on Twin Peaks. Though the project was, as Carney calls it, "renegade" that first year, it has since become a fixture of the Pride celebrations, drawing support from city officials and speakers from all over the world.

Once a small symbol erected by 15 people, the triangle now requires 80 people to put it together. Carney and his sister, Colleen Hodgkins, lay down the outline each year. Then the volunteers fill it in with 175 pink tarps and thousands of stakes anchoring them to the hillside.

One of the speakers at this year's pink triangle installation ceremony will be Arsham Parsi, the executive director of the Iranian Queer Organization, who was forced to flee Iran in 2005 after performing underground activism for the LGBT community there.

Source: Bay Area Reporter


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