Pink Triangle Experience Exercise


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The Pink Triangle, used by Nazis to identify homosexuals in concentration camps, has since been appropriated and embraced by gay men and lesbians. The exercise we propose encourages students to identify with a stigmatized “other” and allows them to discover the reality confronted on a daily basis by gay and lesbian students and to discover possible deeper attitudes towards the gay community and themselves. You or students can make pink triangles out of thick, pink construction paper. Pins can also be purchased for your students. They should be of sufficient size as to be visible. A rainbow ribbon can be glued to the pink triangle to facilitate recognition by strangers. Assigning readings, such as the one by Rabow, Stein, and Conley (1999), that have utilized the Pink Triangle will allow your students to understand that they might be asked to do what other students have done. When introducing the experience, indicate the voluntary nature of the assignment. There should be no negative consequences for the non-wearers. Students who elect to wear the pin should put them on as well as remove the pins in class at the same time. Ask students to wear the pin for one week. Students should talk about their feelings about putting on the pin and expressing any feelings about all possible encounters during the week. Non-pin wearers should be encouraged to express reasons for their non-participation. Two assignments that we have found useful are: 1) For the non-wearers: Have these students partner up with...


Resource Type(s):
Assignment, Class Activity 
Jerome Rabow
Manpreet Dhillon
Keisha Elizabeth Payne 
Date Published:
Subject Area:
Social Change 
Class Level:
Class Size:

Usage Notes:

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Resources required include pins which can be purchased or made, they can also be ordered from a company such as Bizzy Box ( You can also ask students to make their own pink triangles or you can make them for students out of thick, pink construction paper. They should be...

Learning Goals and Assessments:

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Goal 1:
Students by identifying with a stigmatized “other” will experience a reality and that has been mostly unknown and to discover what their own deeper attitudes and feelings might be towards the gay and lesbian community.
Assessment 1:
Students will wear a pink triangle pin for one week then remove the pin in class and discuss their experiences. Non-pin wearers can discuss their experiences of non-participation. Written assignments can be developed, for pin-wearers and non-pin wearers.

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Pink Triangle Exercise.pdf
Pink Triangle Image Examples.pdf