Sage Student Erin Davies Turns Hate into Tolerance Campaign


Erin Davies, a student at Sage College in New York, was targeted by anti-gay vandals when her VW Beetle was sprayed with the words “U R gay” and fag” in mid-April, most likely because the vehicle has a rainbow sticker affixed to its bumper. The incident occurred on the national “Day of Silence” in which students across the country use silence as a means to bringing awareness to intolerance and homophobia.

Sage2_2Instead of having the car cleaned up, Davies says she plans to use it to spread a message of tolerance and take it on a cross-country trip this summer with the hateful messages still emblazoned across its windows.

She told Capital News 9, “I’m sure I’m not the first person this has happened to, but I might be the first person who has been okay driving it around, putting it out there and letting people become more aware of it and decide, you know, how do we stop this from happening?”

Davies has started a website called FagBug to chronicle her activism. She says she plans to have people attach “FagBug” stickers to her VW as she travels across country.

On Monday, students at Sage college held a rally to support Davies. She told the Troy Record, “I came out 12 years ago, so this isn’t news to me. 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. I want to make this visible so people can see that hate crimes still happen.”

FagBug [official site]
Hate crime turned into educational campaign [troy record]
Sage students march to promote tolerance [capital news 9]


  1. Leland says

    Very courageous and smart—up to a point, and that point is “Fagbug” where her bright idea crashes and burns. Obviously, she’s neither an English, linguistics, nor marketing major or she would understand that much of the message in any worthwhile media coverage she might generate is going to get clouded by confusion about terminology. She has built in an unnecessary distraction from her message. “Ms. Davies, I’m Honey Potts from BMFK Action News. Doesn’t ‘fag’ refer to homosexual males? Why did you choose that word rather than ‘gay’ which was also sprayed on your car and traditionally refers to both male and female homosexuals?” “I’m trying to” “I’m sorry we’re out of time. Good luck. Now back to our studio where Billy Bob’s got the weather and farm report.”

  2. Steve says

    Leland, I think you missed the point. She didn’t really have the opportunity to edit or improve the word choices in the hateful graffiti sprayed on her car.

  3. says

    Is there a way to filter out Leland’s comments from this blog? If I wanted to hear a constant, daily barrage of criticism and bitching, I’d call my Mom.

  4. Skeptic says

    Hate-crime vandalizing is the easiest of faked crimes. Opportunity and motive are present. The alleged victim (or should I say, “perpetrator”?) has their moment in the spotlight while bringing attention to a cause they care passionately about. Google “hate crime hoax” for cases. I call it the Munchausen Hate Crime Syndrome.

  5. Adam says

    I have to disagree with you too, Leland. I actually think using “fag” is a smarter choice for her message. Since it’s a much nastier word then gay, similar to the “n” word, I think it will aid her in exposing hatred against all GLBT people despite the fact that term usually only refers to gay males. More and more straight people are becoming aware how offensive the word is and it makes people uncomfortable and forces them to take notice. By using it I think she is forcing people to confront another level of bigotry that the word “gay” would not convey.

  6. sean says

    perhaps, she is reowning this word. taking possession of it back from the haters as a means of empowerment like blacks have done with the word “nigger.” instead of simply repainting the car and thereby erasing the hate, she has chosen to turn it around and expose to the world the ugly that still exists and perhaps, by chance, start to re-educate some of the few out there less fortunate than you or i when it comes to decency.

  7. Leland says

    Adam, I totally agree with you that people need to be made to understand that the F-word is the [im]moral equivalent of the N-word. I’ve been attacked here for repeatedly protesting its use by Isaiah Washington and the resulting chain of events.

    But that doesn’t mean that every attempt to do that is immune from comment or criticism. Driving the defaced car cross country is an excellent idea, generating casual discussion and media focus. But she’s fucking up her own good idea with elaborating on it with the whole “attach ‘fagbug’ stickers” nonsense. Trying to figure out what that means [“Herb! Look at that car! First it was ‘queer’. Are we supposed to call them ‘fags’ now? Is it a play on words? Remember those penguins? Are they saying bugs are gay, too? I don’t understand, Herb.”

    ChrisB: Just got off the phone with your mom and I don’t blame her. Her favorite panties? Shame on you!

  8. Labia Minora-Majora says


    It’s OK. I have a friend like you who loves to play devil’s advocate all the time. Right or wrong, he just loves to stir the pot a little for attention.