Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

So apparently today was the first time a lot of people on my TL learned what a TERF is, so I’m going to educate y’all on some more queer history, since it’s shockingly unknown. For today, let’s talk about the color pink. 🧵

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

Before World War II, pink was considered the masculine color. No, really, it was. It was associated with blood, particularly warfare (think bloody rags), and was associated in the west with masculinity, strength and courage. In the late 1800s/early 1900s, a marketing strategy...

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

...was implemented that encouraged parents to dress their boys in pink and their girls in blue. It was most likely a scheme to get parents to buy multiple sets of children’s clothes, because before that, children’s clothes were usually white and completely gender neutral.

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

Parents would usually repair and pass down the same set of clothes regardless of their child’s gender. Anyway, this marketing scheme was hugely successful, especially in the wake of WWI, when masculinity through warfare was a major part of the propaganda that encouraged young...

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

...men to enlist in the deadliest war of all time. So for the survivors, glorifying the blood and death as masculine was attractive. And they dressed all their little boys in pink to prove it. The shift towards pink began as women, in the 1920s, also acted more “masculine”...

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

...as more liberated, independent standards for women began to arise. (Think classic flapper girl.) One of the ways a woman could signal her independence (which was at this time, highly fashionable), was to present in more masculine ways. This included shorter haircuts...

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

...chest compression (yes really!), and of course, wearing pink.

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

So the cultural double standard was set in place; pink was both the color of hyper masculinity... and the color co-opted to rebel against it. This cultural confusion eventually leads us to WWII.

(TW for next tweets for genocide, fascism, antisemitism, and Holocaust discussion)

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

In the course of severe discrimination that eventually escalated to the targeted extermination of “undesireables” from Germany and conquered areas, people were labeled according to their class. Most famously, Jewish people were targeted, but also targeted were Roma peoples...

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

...disabled people, the mentally ill, and queer people. Prior to WWII and the rise of fascism, Germany was the world leader in queer rights, including those of trans people. The Institut für Sexualwissenschaft (Institute of Sexual Sciences) was an active group of activists...

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

...sociologists, scientists, and more, actively fighting for (and gaining) queer rights. It also provided sex education, treatment for general diseases, and fought for the rights of women. Trans people really have always been here! Enjoy some gorgeous trans flappers 🏳️‍⚧️

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

In 1933, what was then the queer rights capital of the world was burned by the burgeoning Nazi party. Most notably, all books from the institute were burned. This was to prevent the spread of dangerous ideas that were “converting youths into unclean lifestyles”.

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

Part of the labeling of “undesirable groups” is famous because the Star of David was used to mark Jewish people. Few cishet people seem to know that “homosexuals” (a term applied universally to both gay men and trans women at the time) were labeled with a pink triangle.

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

This was a play on both the cultural perceptions of pink at the time. At first, the Nazi party tolerated queers, then they tolerated us as long as we didn’t “spread it”, then they oppressed us, and then they tried to eliminate us.

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

Overnight, pink became gay.

And this means that overnight, straight men decided that pink was “effeminate”. The fact that Germany had been the queer cultural hub of the world was not unknown to everyone. Many gay people joined the military at this time, some for personal cause...

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

...and because it allowed for same sex relationships. The queerness of the US military during WWII was one of the worst-kept secrets of the age. Famously, one of the legends passed down from that time was of Nell “Johnnie” Phipps, a soldier in the Women’s Army Corps, who was...

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

...supposedly asked by General Eisenhower to “ferret out the lesbians” in her unit. As the story goes, she replied that if he wanted that, he’d have to ask someone else, because she’d be the first to go. Supposedly that made Eisenhower give up this mission. Similarly at this...

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

...time, men were drafted together for long periods, making same sex behavior more accepted. And women, left to run the country in their absence, took on increasingly masculine and independent roles. When the allies breached the first concentration camps and learned how the...

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

...truth about them, the classification system became known. Pink became gay. And, after WWII, reactionaries were eager to get back to the “traditional way of things”. The encouragement of bending of gender and sexual roles in wartime abruptly reversed post-war. The modern...

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

...concept of the “American Dream” was born, and pink was for girls. Of course pink was for girls! It always had been! That’s why the gays were labeled pink, for their effeminate nature! That’s why the flappers wore pink. Pink was for girls, and revisionist history was in vogue.

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

So what about pink triangles? You’ve all seen them. Although largely suppressed in general culture, pink triangles became a symbol of queer rebellion, of a refusal to disappear or be killed off. The pink triangle made its major reemergence during the AIDS crisis, when groups...

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

...such as Act Up! adopted it as a powerful symbol. Similarly to how citizen complacency allowed for murder to go on during the Holocaust, citizen complacency during the AIDS crisis allowed for millions of deaths.

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

The crisis was so much worse than you’ve been led to believe. It is downplayed and suppressed, because it is incomprehensible cruelty and negligence. This photo was taken in 1993.

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

The dead were turned away by their families. Cemeteries refused their bodies. Illegal burials and mass or unmarked graves were very real. AIDS doesn’t kill outright, it weakens the immune system so that other things do. Pneumonia, the common cold, fungal infections, etc.

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

Landlords turned off the heat in apartments where they knew gay tenants lived, literally to try to kill them off to clear the apartments. Hospitals refused them. People would look their own deaths in the face and use them as protest, choosing where they would die, because they...

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

...knew their bodies wouldn’t be buried respectfully either way. Keith Haring, one of the most famous artists of the 80s and 90s, made extensive art about the crisis. You’ve almost definitely seen it, and not known what it means. He died at age 31 of AIDS. That was in 1990.

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

Think about that. The 1990s. If you’re my age, the entire generation that would have been our elders died. We are the lost generation of queers, and it’s so important to know our history. But also, my parents grew up during this. So did yours. They were silent.

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

To really wrap your head around the tragedy of the crisis that’s unspoken, untaught, I would recommend (with extreme caution) reading the digitized AIDS quilt.

aidsmemorial.org/interactive-ai…

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

In the midst of the crisis, when respectful burials did not exist, 48,000 panels of the AIDS quilt were made in memoriam. Each was for a specific person who had died, often by their friends or spouses left behind. The quilt is one of the most raw things I have ever seen.

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

Can you imagine if, during the coronavirus, when people began dying in droves, if the government openly ignored the crisis? No, not like the Trump admin. Like refusing to acknowledge its existence altogether. Like refusing to fund medical research. Like feeding into the idea...

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

...that the AIDS crisis was a righteous wrath upon the queer community by God himself? The end death toll is unknown, because it was so stigmatized, but it was immense. The conservative Christian anti-queer campaigns began at this time, and stayed out. Homophobia could now be...

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

...justified as fear of contagion. And death and destruction became politicized and blamed on “the other side”, even as it didn’t stop.

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

Now, more than ever, this history is necessary. Teach queer history.

Queer people have always been here.

Fascism never stops without accountability.

Traditionalism is revisionist history.

Do not get complacent. None of this is over. Do not go silent.

Alex Petrovnia, bane of TERFs and anti of fa @AlexPetrovnia

Homophobia, transphobia and misogyny have always been, and will always be, incredibly intertwined. #TERF history is revisionist history. The #BidenErasedWoman trend shows how little known queer history is.

“Those who do not learn from history and doomed to repeat it.”