Pink Triangle – History and Memory of LGBTQ+ in European Culture (LS-DI-558)

Most of the time, when students hear about LGBTQ+ at school, it is to talk about persecution and bullying. In this learning scenario, they are invited to consider the way LGBTQ+ people have gained recognition and finally proved that they are not only victims but also heroes of the European culture.

Summary

In this learning scenario, students are invited to discover the history behind the symbol of the Pink Triangle.

First, they will study the classification system in the Nazi concentration camps to understand how homosexuals were persecuted during the Second World War.

Then, they will understand how the Pink Triangle symbol was repurposed for LGBTQ+ Pride during the 1970s and 1980s. They will for example work on the Stonewall riots in the USA and on the rise of the LGBTQ+ associative movement in Europe.

Moreover, they will discover that some homosexuals such as Alan Turing in Great Britain and Fritz Bauer in Germany who were victims of homophobic policies during the 1950s and 1960s finally became heroes in their respective countries decades later.

Finally, students are invited to take part in the rehabilitation of the LGBTQ+, using archives from the Europeana Collections to create a poster with this motto: “Our Common Past / Our future rights”.

Learning Process

This learning scenario is built on a “flipped learning” strategy. That is to say that the students are invited to study materials before the class with self-corrected questionnaires. They will for example use videos to learn about the Holocaust, Genocides and Mass Murder of WWII, but also on the Stonewall riots and Alan Turing. They are also invited to research about “Gay Pride” in the Europeana Collections and to study the interview of Jonathan Blacke, one of the members of the “Lesbian and Gay support the miners” group created in 1984.

During the class, students use what they have learnt during the prep’ activities to comment on documents from the Europeana Collections. They will for example explain the meaning of a famous poster created by Act Up in 1987 and using a reversed pink triangle. They will also study this letter from the Cork Gay Collective to Gay Miners Support Groups written in 1984.

Moreover, students are steadily developing their creative and collaborative skills during team activities in which they create posters and oral analyses with documents from the Europeana Collections.

Students’ Reflections

Students mostly appreciate the fact that they have discovered facts and knowledge that they have never heard before. They were particularly involved in the team activities in which they can demonstrate their creativity and comprehension of the lessons’ issues.

The documents below are for examples the posters they have created during the hexagons game:

Students create a poster with hexagons using archives from the Europeana Collections
Students created a poster about the classification system in the Nazi concentration camps
Students have created a poster to explain the different steps of persecution during the Second Reich

Would you like to know more about this learning scenario? You can download it below:

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CC BY 4.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on
Europeana and has been provided by the National Library of Finland.

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