It was ironic that in 2007, on the eleventh annual National Day of Silence, Erin, who is a lesbian, would find that someone had vandalized her Beetle by spray-painting fag and u r gay on it because the car carried a rainbow sticker. The National Day of Silence brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying, and harassment in schools. As Erin has written in her book manuscript, which is still in preparation, she's been openly gay for 12 years.
Writing u r gay on my car was the equivalent of writing "You have brown eyes" or "Your name is Erin." It was like writing "You are heterosexual" on a car owned by someone who’s straight and fine with it. My intellectual response to what was written on my hood was "Yes, I am gay. What’s your point?"But her personal space had been invaded by someone who'd wanted to embarrass her and hurt her emotionally. Did she remove the graffiti and pretend that her privacy and sense of security had not been invaded?
Not Erin. She decided to leave the graffiti right where it was and drive her car, with its messages of intended hate, across the United States and Canada for 58 days, stopping along the way to talk with people, individually and in groups, about their reactions to the defacing of her car, to (as she explains on Fagbug.com) "raise awareness about hate crimes and homophobia in our society, 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 a creative project to life." She gave talks at high schools and universities, did podcasts and radio shows. And now that she's back home, she's still giving talks. She's even had her Fagbug wrapped to look like the rainbow Bug graphic on her web site.
She learned a great deal about herself and about people during her travels. She's writing a book (that would be why I was editing her book proposal) and making a film about her trip. Here is a short movie trailer that she's done. Erin has impressed a lot of people with her antihomophobia work, including GO Magazine, which included her in its June-issue feature "100 Women We Love 2008."
If Erin's story impresses you as much as it has me, please consider giving her a donation. She still needs help with funding the editing of her film and with publicity costs. To do so, go to the home page of her web site and click on the flashing image of the Fagbug that has the word Donate under it. You can keep up with her adventures by reading her MySpace blog. And if you're an acquisition editor affiliated with a major publishing house, e-mail me (click the "View my complete profile" link in the sidebar at the right to be taken to a page with a link to my e-mail address) and I'll put you in contact with Erin.
Fagbug homophobia activism gay rights EditorMom