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Vandals’ homophobic slur remade as badge of honor

fagbug 3

When a vandal scrawled slurs on her Volkswagen beetle, Erin Davies decided to turn the car into a rolling teachable moment.

Photo by: Fern Shen

We knew there had to be a good story behind the rainbow-hued Volkswagen Beetle with the eye-catching name parked on President St. Saturday.

There is.

On the Fagbug website, are details of  the ugly incident that took place on April 18, 2007 and inspired the project.

Here’s how it’s described on the site:

“On the 11th Annual National Day of Silence, Erin Davies was victim to a hate crime in Albany, New York. Because of sporting a rainbow sticker on her VW Beetle, Erin’s car was vandalized, left with the words “fag” and “u r gay” placed on the driver’s side window and hood of her car. Despite initial shock and embarrassment, Erin decided to embrace what happened by leaving the graffiti on her car. She took her car, now known worldwide as the “fagbug,” on a 58-day trip around the United States and Canada. Along the way, Erin discovered other, more serious hate crimes, had people attempt to remove the graffiti, and experimented with having a male drive her drive her car. After driving the fagbug for one year, Erin decided to give her car a makeover.”

Now, Davies travels the country speaking at college campuses and appearing at Pride parades. And this weekend, it seems, she was in Baltimore.

The mission of Fagbug “is to raise awareness about hate crimes and homophobia, to give a voice for those who are silent, to inspire others to take a stand against bullies and to be an example of how to overcome obstacles in bringing creative projects to life,” the website says.

There’s also a documentary about that initial cross-country trip. On Davies Facebook page, you can see a slideshow of the variety of notes people left her, along with money and cans of Redbull. One says simply “Hero.” Another says “It’s a shame you made this up.”

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