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Bird's Blog

Poetry, musings, observations, commentary, rants, confessions...and who knows what else!

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Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Teacher, writer, poet, grandmother, lover, wine-drinker, chocolate eater, beach comber, hiker, traveler, Giants fan, San Franciscan. All work on this blog is copyrighted material.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Pink Triangle

As I sip coffee this fine Sunday morning, I gaze out my window to the city below. I have a clear view of Market Street, running like some sort of umbilical cord from the heart of the City (which is indeed the Castro – geographically at least) down to the Ferry Building. Market Street, like this morning, is quiet, though certainly Justin Herman Plaza is now bursting with people and sections of Market are lined with spectators, all awaiting the Pride Parade. Shortly, Dykes on Bikes will open up the parade, gunning their shiny motorcycles down the hot asphalt and Market Street will be awash in color, smiles, officials in shiny convertibles, floats with handsome dancing men, and contingencies of various entities – community organizations, labor unions, student groups - all marching in solidarity, support, and pride. Helicopters will buzz the city; flags will wave; crowds will cheer.

Yesterday, the Pink Triangle was unfurled on the east side of the Twin Peaks Lookout. On a clear day, like today, the Triangle boasts a visibility of 20 miles.

Living on the San Francisco Peninsula for decades, I was of course aware of the Pride Parade, but not until I moved to San Francisco, to my roost east of Twin Peaks and overlooking the Castro, did I learn of the Triangle. During my first Pride Weekend living in the City, I took one of my usual walks in the neighborhood, heading uphill toward Twin Peaks, and halfway there, was astounded to see the large pink triangle embracing the hillside.

For me, the triangle has long represented female power. And that’s how I saw that pink triangle that first morning: a symbol of the lesbian community, of the power and force of women – a symbol of women’s struggle for acceptance, identity and acknowledgement in both the straight and “gay” community. Although LGBT is more often used these days (particularly in San Francisco), gay is still the standard and gay doesn’t really include women. And truly, if you look around the Castro – the gay mecca – you see men dominate the area. Women are scarce in the gay mecca.

But the pink triangle also harkens back to the abysmal time when the Nazis torched Europe, defiling, vilifying, torturing so many. In their sadistic penchant for labeling, the Nazis forced gays and lesbians to sew a pink triangle on their clothing as a sign of oppression. Now, every Pride Weekend, the pink triangle is a loud and visible memorial for the gays and lesbians who suffered in Hitler’s concentration camps. But the triangle makes another statement as well: there is pride in being gay, in being lesbian; and all of us have a right to an identity of our own, a community of our own – and here, now, in this time, the gay and lesbian community and its family, its supporters, are strong and will fight for the right to be treated fairly, equally, under the law.

The parade has begun. At the far end of Market Street I see splashes of gold, as the sunlight sparkles on the brass instruments of marching bands, on the gleaming chrome bumpers of well-polished cars and trucks, on the bits of shiny foil flags and ribbons. But when I leave my roost in a bit, I won’t head east and down the hill to the parade, I’ll head west and upward, toward the Pink Triangle.

(Note: the picture of the pink triangle was "stolen" from the Internet via google images. The other pics are mine. Click on the pics to enlarge for a better view.)

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Blogger Jack K. said...

Thanks for this posting. I had forgotten the significance of the pink triangle. Hitler and the Nazis got away with a lot of heinous crimes against humanity. If we are not careful we will be perpetrating similar ones here.

The mere fact that women are still ignored and treated as second-class citizens is evident with this week's supreme court Walmart decision. I wonder what would happen of women decided not to shop at Walmart and all women employees would walk out in protest for just one hour. Hmmmm?

Enjoy your day, and continue to....

Serve with integrity, care about those you serve and share the love in your heart and soul.

June 26, 2011 1:30 PM  
Blogger firebird said...

Yes! I'm with Jack, let's have a boycott of Walmart! (except I'm already boycotting them...)

I loved this post, so moving and informative! I used to live in the heart of the gay Village community in NYC, so this brings back memories...and I didn't know the significance of the pink triangle, until reading this.

July 02, 2011 12:17 AM  
Blogger Bird said...

Jack: Ugh - The Sups and Walmart. Almost unbelievable.

Firebird: Nice to see you! I have to swoop by roost and see what's up!

July 03, 2011 12:06 PM  

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