The Triangles

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The pink triangle was one of the Nazi concentration camp badges, used to identify male prisoners who were sent there because of their homosexuality. The pink triangle was also used to identify sexual offenders including rapists, paedophiles and zoophiles.

Every prisoner had to wear a downward-pointing triangle on his or her jacket, the colour of which was to categorise him or her by “kind”.

Other colors identified Jews (two triangles superimposed as a yellow star), political prisoners, Jehovah’s Witnesses, “anti-social” prisoners, and others the Nazis deemed undesirable.

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Individuals who were deemed “asocial” and had to wear the Black Triangle included lesbians, the mentally disabled or mentally ill, the homeless, alcoholics, the habitually “work-shy,” prostitutes, draft dodgers, pacifists and others.

Pink and yellow triangles could be combined if a prisoner was deemed to be gay and Jewish (see Nazi concentration camp table of inmate markings).

Originally intended as a badge of shame, the pink triangle (often inverted from its Nazi usage) has been reclaimed as an international symbol of gay pride and the gay rights movement, and is second in popularity only to the rainbow flag.

Lesbians have over time claimed the black triangle as a symbol of defiance against repression and discrimination, and it is considered a counterpart to the gay pink triangle. Lesbians in Germany and the United States began reclaiming the black triangle as a pride symbol in the 1980s.

(Citation from

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5 Responses to The Triangles

  1. Sheesh. The Nazis sure did love to categorize things, didn’t they? I wish that blight on the human race were COMPLETELY gone, but unfortunately they still exist … in the main country that eradicated them from Germany, ironically enough.

  2. Urspo says:

    It is a marvelous thing, to transform a thing of shame into a badge of pride.

  3. jayinva says:

    That’s cool to know, Sean! Thank you! I love a post that I learn from. I knew about the pink triangle, but the whole gamut was new to me.
    Peace ❤
    Jay

  4. Lesbians had to wear black triangles.

    • Sassybear says:

      I did some research about that a while ago and what I found indicated the black triangle was used for “asocials”which included lesbians, but was not distinctively used to identify lesbians, unlike the pink triangle which was solely used to identify homosexual men. Not to deny, in any way, the persecution of lesbians in Nazi Germany; I will edit my post to acknowledge lesbians were labeled with the black triangle as asocials.

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