By Diana Russo, Lifestyles Editor
Erin Davies, a victim of hate crime, shared her experiences and encouraged students to turn negativity into positivity on Tuesday, Oct. 11 at St. John Fisher College in LeChase Commons.
Davies believes a rainbow sticker on the back of her Punch buggy motivated a vandalist to spray paint “FAG” and “UR GAY” on her car nine years ago. These messages motivated Davies to make positive changes and start conversations amongst hundreds.
Davies wants to spread a message that she said consists of, “It’s really not about being gay or not, I think if people come to my lecture, it’s about overcoming obstacles, pursuing your passions. It’s not just a message for gay people.”
After the vandalism, Davies traveled across country to showcase her vandalised car and bring awareness to accepting others. She has made two documentaries, “Fagbug” and “Fagbug Nation,” that showcases her travels and experiences. Erin’s desire to continue to impact as many as she can is exemplified by both tactics.
She said, “The car can go so many places, but a film can even reach more than just where I can personally go. It allows the message to go further than I can drive.”
For the seventh year in a row, the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Diversity Programs has collaborated with Davies to bring her messages and similar experiences to campus on National Coming Out Day. The Fisher community saw her now completely covered rainbow car and hundreds of collectables and inspirational messages from her supporters.
When she reflected on some of these messages she said, “My favorite email I ever got was somebody that said that they used to use homophobic slurs but now that they saw the film, they are going to teach their children to be more understanding than they have been.”
For those who are struggling with adversity or coming out in general, Davies strives to be a symbol of encouragement. She said, “I feel like I try to be an example for other people. If I can drive around the country for nine years with this car and I’m still standing here, you can tell your parents your gay.”
Although Davies is unsure of how much longer this will be a part of her life, she reflects on the past nine years and said, “It’s sort of become a part of my life. I guess a part of me over that nine years has seen a change in the climate towards the LGBT acceptance of people. I think for some people it’s still a struggle for people to be comfortable with who they are. I think that having things that are visibly out there can help those kinds of people.”