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"Fag Bug" vandal
victim plans road trip

"Fag Bug" vandal
victim plans road trip

Out Albany, N.Y., graduate student Erin Davies, whose Volkswagen Beetle was spray-painted with hate slogans on April 18, the Day of Silence, plans to drive the vandalized "Fag Bug" on a cross-country tour to promote tolerance.

Davies, 29, who came out as a lesbian 12 years ago, got many messages of support after the vandalism incident, which she figures was triggered by a rainbow sticker on the car.

At first, Davies said, she was mortified. She reported the crime to Albany police, who are investigating but say they have heard of no similar incidents. An insurance company claims adjuster--one of many people who advised her to remove the slurs from the car--estimated the cost of repairing cosmetic damages at $350.

"But even as I drove through my neighborhood in the rental car, I was stopped by friends and acquaintances and asked what I planned to do next," she told the Troy Record newspaper.

"I'm gonna rainbow my whole car out!" Davies, an arts education student at Russell Sage College, told

She decided to keep the slurs on the car to raise awareness. When people see it around town, she writes on her site,, they often leave letters of support on the dash.

In July, Davies plans to drive the 2002 Beetle across the country as a way to protest hate crimes. Along the way, she wants to get 1 million people--gay and straight--to put rainbow stickers on their own cars, figuring that if the symbol proliferates, its bearers will no longer be targeted as weak. She hopes to get coverage from MTV.

On Monday, Sage students and faculty staged a rally to support her.

"She is a very strong individual, for her to turn such a negative into a positive thing," Cheryl VanDemark, coordinator of education programs at Sage and Davies's adviser, told Albany's Metroland weekly.

"If it had happened to any typical individual, they would have been hesitant to drive it, but Erin is strong enough to know how other people think, to know how this might affect other people," VanDemark said.

Davies is not new to activism. After her undergraduate years in Baltimore, the Syracuse, N.Y., native worked with LGBT youths, working on a documentary about the Living Proof theater group.

"The kids each made a vision statement: 'I'm living proof that'...they had not committed suicide, or whatever. That they were still strong.

"This is the same response, but to a situation of mine," Davies said.

The Volkswagen vandalism was not the only backlash to this year's Day of Silence, an annual demonstration at schools and colleges nationwide to dramatize the discrimination and suffering young gays endure.

High schoolers in South San Francisco, Calif., held their Day of Silence on a campus that had been blanketed with hate graffiti over spring break. Rumors of violence forced a lockdown at a participating high school in New Castle, Ind., and in Jonesborough, Tenn., the gay teen organizer of a high school Day of Silence event was sent home, allegedly for his own safety. (Barbara Wilcox, The Advocate)

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"Fag Bug" vandal
victim plans road trip

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