Fagbug parked at Penn State-Wilkes Barre

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First Posted: 10/14/2014

Erin Davies never intended on becoming a gay rights activist, but her fearless to stand up for herself after being a victim of a hate crime, created a path on which she is changing the world one state at a time.

Davies was at the Penn State Wilkes-Barre campus last week with her rainbow painted Volkswagen Beetle, known as the Fagbug. While at school in upstate New York, Davies car was vandalized with the words “fag” and “u r gay” spray painted on the driver’s side window and hood of her car.

“When it happened to my car, I didn’t want anything to do with it,” Davies said. “I was angry,embarrassed, uncomfortable, everything you can imagine. I did what I would have to do to get away from it, but it was always there.”

Davies went to her insurance company to get a quote for repairs and the agency told her they wouldn’t be able to get to her car for about five days.

“I demanded a rental car and they told me I would have to drive my car around,” Davies said. “If they wouldn’t have been backed up, then I would have just gotten it fixed. Instead I had to leave my car in downtown Albany, New York with all the graffiti on it. That’s when people, who I didn’t know, started coming up to me about my car.”

With the graffiti still on her car, strangers began to tell her how they felt about the incident. Davies made the bold decision to driver her vandalized car. Her school’s administration called her to tell her to move her car because of an influx of calls complaining about her vehicle.

“They were concerned about how others felt about the car,” Davies said. “That’s when I realized this wasn’t just my problem, but everyone’s problem.”

Seeing an opportunity to make a change, Davies left the graffiti on her car and took the Fagbug on a 58-day trip around the U.S. and Canada. After the trip, she gave her car a rainbow makeover.

“I want people to see that they can take a negative and turn it into a positive,” Davies said. “I talk a lot about goal setting and that you have to get over your fears. I started with just a week trip, accomplished that goal, and set another one of 58-days. I then set out to visit all 50 states. It’s now been six years.”

Davies wants her audiences to be responsible with their opinions. Students and faculty of the Penn State Wilkes-Barre campus felt the impact of Davies and her car when she came on campus.

“I think it is awesome that it is here,” said assistant girls basketball coach Marissa Duffy. “We don’t have many LGBT events here and it is great to get this in the public eye and raise awareness.”

“I think Fagbug promotes the person who drives it,” senior Ethan Rosenstein said. “She is preaching for equal rights for the people of America. She is promoting what the 14th amendment states, “full and equal benefit of all laws,” for everyone.”