Brice Ehmig just started her senior year as a political science major at Florida Gulf Coast University, and there was one thing she wanted to do before she graduated.
So a few days ago she grabbed her bagpipes.
According to the Gay Star News, Ehmig and her girlfriend have been harassed for holding hands by a sidewalk “preacher” on campus who uses a megaphone to shout about the “sin” of homosexuality.
“If you’ve been on campus since the first day of school, chances are, you’ve seen him,” wrote The Eagle News, FGCU’s student newspaper in Ft. Myers, Fla. “He is usually somewhere between the Cohen Center bus stop and the Library lawn.”
Two sidewalk preachers have shown up on campus for years, according to the student newspaper, which reported in 2014 that the men would only identify themselves as “Adam and Kevin” and that Adam referred to himself as a “born-again Christian.”
As part of their spiel, the preachers refer to college girls as “whores” and gays as “sinners,” students have reported.
“They have the right to be on campus because FGCU is owned by the state, which means that the preaching is happening in a public area and he is not breaking any school policies,” the Eagle News reported.
Over the years Ehmig had heard the “preacher” and other like-minded colleagues who have shown up compare homosexuality to bestiality.
“He’s not exercising freedom of speech; he’s abusing it,” she told the Eagle News. “I don’t think he should get kicked off campus – he has the right to be there just as much as I do, but he says not nice things, and that’s not OK. And I don’t think the bullhorn is necessary. It really just causes interruption.”
On Aug. 19 she took her bagpipes to campus and played next to him as he walked along a campus sidewalk.
She posted the video to her Facebook page, noting that “here’s the full video of the two most annoying things at FGCU hanging out together. (Disclaimer: this man does not represent your Christianity, and highly homophobic things are said.)”
In the video the man can be heard asking Ehmig: “Why are you doing this – do you not like the message?”
Ehmig was inspired by a peaceful protest last year in Scotland where a young boy shut down a similar “hate preacher” in the town of St. Andrews by following him while playing “Scotland the Brave” on his bagpipes, according to The Daily Mail.
Ehmig has played bagpipes since she was 11.
“I have seen too much tragedy in the LGBTQ community to let a man in cargo pants tell me I am the embodiment of sin,” she said, according to Gay Star News. “I am a gay bagpiper and I’m proud.
“I decided since this is my last year at university that I should do things that make me feel brave.”