Erin Davies didn’t think she would either.
But by happenstance she rose to meet the challenge of the gay hero’s journey.
It all began one day on her way to work. Approaching her Beetle, she saw it was covered in homophobic epithets. “I figured the rainbow sticker on the back window had inspired the attack,” she said. Erin had hoped to inspire something else. Eventually, she did. In a big way.
“Could you please fix it right away,” she begged the insurance company. But since it was drivable they’d do no work for several days. “You expect me to go around with the word ‘fag’ in my face?!” she asked. Embarrassed, and with no choice, she drove to work.
Later that day she picked up a rental. But media coverage brought such an outpouring of support that friends proposed she keep driving her “fag bug” to start conversations.
So she did. It all started with a 58 day trip through 41 states. This August, driving through the Dakotas, she visited states 47 and 48. On her way, she collected notes on her windshield, videotaped people’s reactions, and made the six o’clock news.
On video, one person commented on the vandalism saying, “Spray painting a car doesn’t make what you stand for look any better.” Indeed, this paint job seems to have backfired on the messenger.
Surprisingly, the nastiest note Erin got on her windshield only claimed, “It’s a shame u made this up.” Mostly, the notes inspired her: “You’re my hero.” On her journey, hostile people became her friends, or at least friendly. Some, hoping to help, tried washing the graffiti off her parked car, leaving Erin to repaint the words she had first felt shamed to see.
Erin could have hidden behind a rental and restored her car – sans rainbows to halt further attacks. But she went the other way, eventually washing the entire Beetle in rainbow colors, with “fagbug” printed loudly on the side.
Erin could have retreated in shame. Instead, she concluded that hate crimes shouldn’t end in silence, but in dialogue.
Ironically, someone struck out at our lesbian friend, seeking to harm her. But it didn’t work out that way. At all.
Learn more about Erin and her adventure, buy a videotape documenting her travels, or have her to come speak to your school or university by clicking here.
October is LGBT Month