Campus

LGBT Activist Turns Slur Into A Badge of Honor

The Famous “FagBug” Comes to Campus

By Cait Muncaster

Obscene, abomination, vulgar, profane, and offensive are just a handful of words that came to the minds of the students and faculty members that passed the rainbow colored Beetle Volkswagen on November 11 outside of the Center for the Arts.

The Beetle, often referred to as the Bug was vandalized in Syracuse with the words “u r gay” written across the hood and “fag” across the driver’s side window back in 2007. Instead of simply washing it off, Erin Davies, the car’s owner, made the decision to take a road trip through 41 states, to show pride in her sexual orientation.

Davies used the trip to record and interview more than 500 people for her award winning documentary “Fag Bug,” which is now available on Netflix and Hulu. Davies has visited over 300 college campuses and businesses with the Fagbug.

“I am gay,” said Erin Davies. “So writing it on my car is like writing you are straight on a straight person’s car.”

Davies has had the graffiti removed from the Bug and redesigned it to help promote her message. The car now has red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet strips along it. The words “Fagbug” is boldly presented across its side along with a license plate that reads “FG BUG.”

The event attracted a few members from outside the College of Staten Island community, who heard of Davies’ mission and came to support her.

Davies recited a few emails sent to her that she had memorized by reading them repetitively at each place she spoke at over the years. Two of which admired her mission, the other two were against it.

After speaking at these events countless times, she recalls she actually met one person who wrote her an email that she has recited. Davies gave a brief synopsis of “Fagbug” and introduced “Fagbug Nation,” which CSI got a first viewing of before its release to the public. She even kept a tally at how many people laughed at each place she showed her movies.

She told stories of people trying to get her to move her car from public places to avoid turmoil, to others trying to get the graffiti off. Each time it was taken off by a stranger, she sprayed it back on.

“If it got removed 800 times I was going to replace it 800 times,” said Davies later in an interview. “It just shows how deeply people don’t want to deal with or see this type of thing. It was my goal to document those types of reactions.”

“People will try to rob you and steal your rights,” said Davies. “I never let people kick me out of spots I deserve to be in.”

Barbara D’Augustino attended the event to come and see the Fagbug in person after hearing of it and seeing Davies with it a few years ago.

“I have never seen anything like this,” said D’Augustino, whose nephew attends CSI. “My daughter came out many years ago and I love to attend activism events to help show my support. What Erin is doing is simply amazing and her documentary touches my heart every time I watch it.”

“I am not gay,” said Benjamin Martin. “I came out today to support Erin and the Fagbug because her and the Fagbug are just awesome and powerful.”

Martin stood around the car chatting with some of the other attendees sharing his views of the Fagbug and Davies’ mission to stand up for who she is and what she believes in.

Over the last seven years, Davies has not had the support of everyone that she has encountered. She’s been pulled over many times, mostly because the authorities believed her car was offensive and suggested that the words should be removed. Some concerned individuals even scraped off the spray paint off her car.

Davies often found the support heartwarming.

“There was a guy cop who pulled me over,” said Davies. “He pulled me over because he saw the car and thought I was gay. He just wanted to let me know the he was gay too.”

Additional reporting by Clifford Michel and Emily Zoda.

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