For 24 years, Patrick Carney’s epic Pink Triangle was laid out in canvas atop San Francisco’s Twin Peaks. The acre-sized symbol, crafted lovingly by thousands of volunteers through the years, served beautiful notice annually that Pride weekend had arrived.
But in 2020, as the 25th anniversary of the canvas masterpiece approached, Covid reared its ugly head and imperiled the project. Volunteers would not be allowed to gather to construct the triangle and it appeared the Triangle would be among the many casualties of Covid.
However, Carney and a determined team from arts nonprofit Illuminate developed an astonishing plan to keep The Pink Triangle alive.
Less than 80 days later, $100,000 had been raised and nearly 3,000 pink LEDs were purchased, fabricated, and meticulously laid out on a high-tech grid system on the hill. From the moment San Francisco Mayor London Breed officially flipped the on switch, creating a vibrant, acre-sized triangle of pink light, it shined like a beacon above the darkened spirit of San Francisco. Almost all else was shut down in the city, yet The Pink Triangle – a symbol of equity and resilience – shone brightly throughout the city and across the Bay.
And another tradition was born at the same time.
Before the 2020 Grand Lighting, an important procession made its way to San Francisco from Oakland. With Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff leading the way, a symbolic Pink Torch was carried all the way around Lake Merritt by representatives of Oakland Pride. It was then handed off to members of Dykes on Bikes, who roared over the Bay Bridge with the torch on full display. Up Market Street it came, resolutely carried by members of the SF LGBTQ community and escorted by Dykes on Bikes. Once in the Castro, the torch was handed off to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence before the final hand off to Dykes on Bikes and a race up to the top of Twin Peaks where Mayor Breed awaited.
Last year, with restrictions still preventing volunteers from fully installing the epic canvas triangle on the hillside, the illuminated triangle again served as a potent and brilliant partner to a vibrant canvas outline of the triangle.
In 2022 we will have both. Volunteers will again fill the hillside with pink canvas streamers, creating a massive daytime triangle and then the lights will take over as darkness descends on San Francisco ensuring that the symbol remains visible day and night.