Sorry it’s taken so long for me to jump back online since Thursday night’s successful Fag Bug event at the Beauty Bar. I had to hop a plane to Portland at 6 a.m. the next day and haven’t been near a computer for more than 5 minutes until now. (PS: Look for my thoughts about the same-sex wedding I went to in Portland and a very stressful airplane adventure in future posts.) Good news is that the wedding I went to in Portland was awesome and the weather was a nice relief from this crazy-hot summer we’re having.
Now I’m back, people! Watch out! So first things first, I’ve got to report on the Fag Bug in Las Vegas last week.
Unfortunately, I was only able to go to the Thursday event at the Beauty Bar and I missed the caravan down the Strip (hope that went well – somebody send me an e-mail and let me know). But fortunately the Beauty Bar event on Thursday was great and a roaring success! We took over the entire bar (many thanks to local band Nurse Ratchet for playing, sans their normal fee) and we took over the expansive patio out back where Erin Davies pulled her Fag Bug car up. I would guess somewhere around 200+ people were there and that’s saying something in 100-degree weather, even at night.
Erin arrived around 8:30 p.m. and everyone was very excited. While I would say it was predominantly a lesbian and female crowd, there were certainly plenty of men (gay, straight and otherwise) there as well. When Erin pulled in eveyrone cheered and when she got out, she was greeted by a group of local media reporters and camera crews. All told I think we got some good coverage of the event and spread her message through these media outlets: QVegas, CityLife, the Weekly, the View newspapers, Channel 5 (Fox), Channel 3 (NBC).
and Erin taped an interview for KNPR on Thursday (don’t know yet if it aired). (It didn’t.) And when I landed in Portland on Friday, I got a call from the local Telemundo channel, which wanted to do an interview with Erin – so hopefully that went through as well.
So after Erin was swarmed with press people, she then was able to mingle with the crowd. She was like a rock star to our community, who really welcomed her with open arms. People were talking with her and then when she’d wrap up, someone else was waiting to talk to her. People were posing for photos with the car and Erin and she had a lot of stories to tell about her trip so far (she came to Vegas by way of San Diego and LA and when she left she went to Salt Lake City and on to Boise, Idaho).
At around 9:30 or 10 p.m. my volunteers and co-sponsors with the Human Rights Campaign organized a small amount of speeches by a member of the HRC, some of the volunteers (such as Bobbie from Sin City Q Socials) and, of course, Erin spoke about her journey and why she’s traveling all over the country talking about hate crimes in her car that was spray painted with “fag” and “U R gAy” just because she had a rainbow sticker and is a lesbian.
“The people who did this want me to be quiet. But we should not be silent,” Erin told the crowd.
It was such an amazing night to experience and I’m glad I got to see the culmination of two months of hard work. It was great to see Erin and meet her in person after months of talking on the phone and sending e-mails. And it was great to see her smile at the reception she got in “Sin City.” At one point she told me that the event at the Beauty Bar was one of the best and biggest she’d been to so far and it had the most amount of local media exposure of any event on her trip. And that’s the whole point of doing this! To spread her message and spread some hope in our own community! And I was so happy to hear that from her. Since this was my first time ever organizing a public event or doing this kind of wide-scale activism, it was good to know that despite my mistakes early on and my lack of experience, the volunteers I found were great people and together we had made a great event happen.
Above all else, at the end of the night I was on a high of happiness. I felt like I had used my personal talents to do something good in the world and it had nothing to do with my own personal gain (in fact, if we’re talking money, I’m in the hole). It had nothing to do with my own personal story or my problems or anything that would get me fame, fortune or anything else. It was good work for a good cause and it felt good.
And many, many thanks again to all the people who worked generously behind the scenes to help pull this things off: Dawn, Gwen, Erich, Bobbie, Blair, Jeff (who sold some paintings that night, too!), Misty, Desiree, Amy, Candice and Alia! Special thanks to Harrahs for putting Erin up during her stay. Special thanks to Findlay VW for offering a free oil change and service during her stay and for paying to print up our fliers. Special thanks to the Beauty Bar for hosting us. And special thanks to Nurse Ratchet for playing the gig and donating your usual fee to the cause.