The Fagbug June 11, 2008

Erin Davies, a 29-year-old lesbian from Albany, NY, saw something shocking written on her car last year:

… her Volkswagen Beetle had been defaced sometime in the night. The car, which had been parked on the street, had been spray painted with the words “fAG” and “u r gay” in an alarming red.

She figured it was a response to the rainbow sticker she had on the bumper.

Coincidentally or not, it happened on the National Day of Silence.

But instead of cleaning her car and erasing the slurs, she kept them there as a reminder to everyone — including the unknown person who wrote them.

“This is my response back to that person. That person was trying to communicate something to me—I’m trying to communicate something back, ” Davies said.

“My goal is to get something back to that person. I’d like them to know my name and think twice about doing that again,” continued Davies.

She didn’t stop there.

Originally intending to drive the defaced car for only a week, with a friend’s encouragement, Davies decided to take it on a cross country trip that lasted 58 days and covered 45 states and Canada. Her goal: filming a documentary about her experiences driving the “fagbug.” Her friend dubbed it: “Fagbug: Activism on Wheels.”

On the trip, she experienced both the best and the worst of humanity. In Florida, she learned of a young gay man named Ryan Skipper who had been stabbed 20 times and had his own blood put on his car. In Greenville, S.C., she bonded with the mother of a gay man named Sean Kennedy, who had been punched so hard outside of a bar that three bones in his skull fractured. He fell, his head landing on concrete. He died from his injuries. His mother refused to be silent about the incident and is now an activist against hate crimes.

It’s really an incredible story.

Her car has changed since then to be a more positive symbol of gay pride:


Ruth N. Geller tells the full story in Humanist Network News.

Update: Reader Nowoo sent over a picture he took of Erin and the Fagbug in Vancouver from last August.


[tags]atheist, atheism, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, glbt, lgbt[/tags]
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  • Erin is awesome! She hung out with us in the campus LGBT Center when she came to UGA, and it was pretty darn nifty talking to her (and getting suitably gay pictures with the fagbug!).

    One thing, though: I’m pretty sure she’s actually not a lesbian–she just had the sticker on for support.

  • She came to Union twice this past year–once on the way out and once on the way back. (We’re so close to Albany, how could she not?) Frustratingly, both times I had a class during the time she was to speak!

  • Tom

    Lets not forget that many (not all, but many) church groups, including the Catholic League, are trying to STOP laws that make abuse and discrimination against G/L/TG people illegal. Some have even argued that to deny them that “right” would be “religious intolerance”

  • One thing, though: I’m pretty sure she’s actually not a lesbian–she just had the sticker on for support.

    The HNN article said she was an “out” lesbian. That’s what I was working off of…

  • I want a fagbug! And I’m not a lesbian.

  • nowoo

    I saw Erin and the fagbug in the Vancouver Pride parade last August. I’d heard her story on the HNN podcast, so I ran into the street to shake her hand as she rode by, sitting on the roof of the bug.

  • Yeah, the article does say that . . . weird. Huh. She told us she was just a supporter . . .

    How can anyone call religions tolerant when they fight for their right to discriminate or attack other people?

  • What gets me is the ‘U R Gay’ graffiti. I mean, LOL-speak aside, how stupid is that? The car had a rainbow sticker, so either the driver was gay or was a supporter. That means that calling them gay would elicit a ‘So what?’ or a ‘Yes. Yes I am’.

  • TheDeadEye

    Can I get a convertible version of the fagbug?

  • stogoe

    Yeah, the article does say that . . . weird. Huh. She told us she was just a supporter . . .

    Maybe the Ally label is a good way to test the waters and become comfortable with being gay without picking up all the cultural baggage of homosexuality from the get-go. And other times being an ally is just being an ally.

    Anyways, at my college campus the BGLAAD-equivalent used to put out rainbow doors on the quad for Coming Out Week, and one year they were spray-painted the same way. They, too, left the graffiti on, for the same reason.

    The next year the doors were attacked with golf clubs.

  • Siamang

    I love FAGBUG!!!!

    I watched that photo slideshow on the fagbug site. FANTASTIC! I can’t wait to see the film.

  • Jason

    I think gays and atheists are the last two acceptable scapegoats.

  • Hi folks, this is Erin Davies of fagbug. Seems to be some confusion around my sexual orientation for some reason. To put that to rest, yes I am a lesbian. I’ve been out as gay since I was 17 years old and just turned 30 this year, so I’ve been out for over 13 years. Thanks for leaving all the comments!

    Also for the person who posted the pic of me at Vancouver Pride, can you please email that to me at Thanks!

  • nowoo

    I sent Erin the full size photo and some smaller ones from the same parade.

  • Thanks for posting this link, Hemant. I read Erin’s story and decided to contact her to see if she would like to be on the Atheists Talk radio show. And yes, she agreed! I just finished talking to her and she is set to be on the air on Sunday, July 20th and 9:00 am Central Time. Here is the link to the radio show. (Use Zip 55112 to stream if you are outside of Minnesota.)

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