Our Rating: ★★★★☆
L Factor: Lesbian Film
Short Take: An engaging documentary about how one woman deals with an anti-gay hate crime.
Alternate Titles:
Year: 2009
Duration: 83 min
Language: USA/English
MPAA: Not Rated
Director: Erin Davies
Starring: Erin Davies, The Fagbug

Fagbug Trailer

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Erin Davies drives a VW bug with a rainbow sticker on the back window. One day the Albany, New York student got to her parking space to find she was a victim of a hate crime; someone had spray painted ‘ur gay’ and ‘fAg’ [sic] on her car.

What Erin did after that was a little different. Instead of removing the graffiti (which wasn’t covered by insurance because of her $500.00 deductible), she decided to keep driving the car to raise awareness. And drive she did.

Fagbug is the documentary film Erin made about her cross-country trip driving the car to different communities, creating discussion about hate crimes and homophobia.    Erin talks to all kinds of people along the way – participating in gay pride parades with the Fagbug; encountering people who may be anti-gay, but are shocked that someone spray-painted her car; and finding all kinds of people who would like to help her. Eventually, the Volkswagen company sponsored the car, and the graffiti was replaced with a rainbow wrap sporting the moniker ‘fagbug.’

There was also controversy. Some people accused Erin of spraying the car herself as a device to raise money for a cross-country vacation, and some of her friends did not support her efforts. And there was the issue of a lesbian in a ‘fag’ car. When she tested having a gay man drive the car, he received a much more negative reaction (and would have likely been in more danger if he had embarked on the awareness-raising trip, instead of Erin).

Documentaries can often be a snoozable affair, but Fagbug is very watchable and makes you wonder what happened once Erin returned home. She continues to make documentary films and driving around her car for a purpose. You can support her work by purchasing a toy fagbug car, a sticker, t-shirts and the dvd at her website: http://www.fagbug.com

I think one of the things that makes this documentary better than the usual is that it is an example of what one person can do. Oftentimes, we can be overwhelmed with the state of the world and uncertain about how to make a difference to make it better for ourselves, our friends and families, and our global neighborhood. What Erin did was one person standing up to make a hate crime more visible, to force people to deal with that reality every day as she parked in a prominent place. That is an inspiration. (AB)