How the Nazi Regime’s Pink Triangle Symbol Was Repurposed for LGBTQ Pride

ith LGBTQ Pride Month beginning June 1 — a month chosen to honor the history of activism epitomized by the Stonewall Riots of June 1969 — celebrants around the world will be getting ready for parades and other tributes. Symbols such as the rainbow flag and the pink triangle will abound; for example, Nike has announced a new line of LGBTQ history-themed sneakers, including two that boast pink triangles.

The brightly colored symbol is now often worn proudly, but it was born from a dark period in LGBTQ history and world history.

Just as the Nazis forced Jewish people to wear a yellow Star of David, they forced people they labeled as gay to wear inverted pink triangles (or ‘die Rosa-Winkel’). Those thus branded were treated as “the lowest of the low in the camp hierarchy,” as one scholar put it.

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