Film and Car Promote Anti-Discrimination

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Anyone who passed by the Grand Theatre in Grand Island Monday evening was likely to see a rainbow-colored Volkswagen bug provocatively named "Fagbug." Its owner Erin Davies was in town to screen her documentary of the same name.

After her car was vandalize in a hate crime in 2007, Davies decided to take the car on a cross-country trip, documenting people's reactions to the attack on her sexual orientation.

"It's no longer something someone did to me, it's something I've chosen to do," Davies said.

The anti-bullying group Bullyproof GI asked Davies to come to Grand Island.

"I think a lot of people are going to be shocked. I think Grand Island is an older community, they're not ready for that kind of stuff, and I think it's good, I think they need to be ready," said Bullyproof GI member Heather Cummings.

Tri-City GLBT also held a drag show to help raise funds to bring Davies.

"It's important to bring it to the forefront to let the general public know that it does happen here. We're not immune to anything," said Tri-City GLBT leader Tim Perlinger.

Organizers said they thought the film was especially appropriate after the City rejected a sexual orientation anti-discrimination ordinance in October.

"I think a lot of problems with prejudices is people just don't know. And the problem is, trying to get people to come out and watch it so you can teach people and educate people. That's the way to get it started, just keep talking about it and keep spreading the word," said Cummings.

"I think the more that everybody realizes that there are gays and lesbians in this community and every community, that we do everything they do, it's just that our sexual orientation is different," Perlinger said.

But they said it's not just a LGBT issue because bullying and discrimination could occur to anyone.

"What I hope Grand Island will get out of this film is that nobody is a second-class citizen. This film and presentation will hopefully inspire people to stand together and make a change," said Bullyproof GI member Heather Victory.

"Whatever sexuality you are, you may have a child that is bullied in high school or grade school or work place. You might be an adult and get bullied. So it's not about who you are, it's the issue of, you're being bullied so let's do something about it," Perlinger said.

If someone is bullied, Davies said she hopes her experiences can inspire and encourage them.

"Kind of open up education and learning more about the fact that these things happen, and how you can take when you're bullied or someone does something like this, how you can take that and turn it into a positive," she said.

Organizers said they hope events like this one will help make the community a more tolerant one.



 
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