As a young queer woman, fresh out of twelve years of catholic school, I was pretty lost in terms of how carry out my “new identity”. As any intelligent, over thinker would do…I started to do some research. I looked up YouTube videos on “how to dress like a lesbian”, found plenty of lists of must see lesbian movies, books and TV shows. I even created a playlist titled “lesbian music”. At that point in my life, I was gravitating towards anything gay. While sitting in my apartment one evening, listening to Ani DiFranco and drooling over Kate Moennig, I came across a documentary titled “Fagbug”. I was intrigued to say the least. Little did I know just how powerful this film was and all the lessons I would take from it would be.
The film is a story of Erin Davies, a victim of a hate crime which involved the spray painting of the words “fag “ and “U R gay” on her VW Bug. Davies was shocked, “Until this experience, I’ve never been called a fag” stated Erin at her discussion last Monday. After the initial shock settled and a couple of days passed Erin “had this really strong gut feeling…telling me to drive the car, so I hopped in and drove”. Erin hasn’t stopped since. It’s been seven years since her car was vandalized and Erin and her “Fabug” have traveled to all fifty states. Throughout her journey she has met thousands of people and has successfully brought attention to homophobia and violence towards the gay community. Her film is so personal that it is almost like watching home videos of a good friend.
The film documents many powerful interviews and we watch Erin’s fifty-eight day journey across the country unfold. “These things (hate crimes) aren’t documented…that’s what makes this story so compelling, you get to experience this from beginning to end” says Davies. During her discussion last Monday, Davies talked about the idea of something so negative can end up being something extremely powerful. Being that Erin has become and inspiration, voice, and hero for some, all from getting her car vandalized, I believe that idea to be true. Erin uses the Fag Bug for everyday use and hopes to one day retire her car and create a “wall of one thousand notes” to commemorate her journey and document all of the notes she has received over the years. Davies wrapped up her discussion with a reading of her love letter to her vandal titled “Dear Vandal”. In the letter, she states exactly what she would say to the person who vandalized her car, thank them for giving her the experience of traveling across country, making a movie, and meeting thousands of people.
Davies has produced a sequel to her film which is titled “Fagbug Nation” in which she interviews more young people and residents of the two remaining states she hasn’t visited, Alaska and Hawaii’. Erin plans to return to the University of Michigan-Dearborn in April, and there will be a screening of “Fagbug Nation”.