Wilson Gavin, a young Australian conservative has been found dead just one day after being featured in a viral video protesting a Drag Queen Story Hour event at a public library.
Gavin, 21, was the president of the University of Queensland’s Liberal National Club, a conservative student group. As a same-sex attracted man, Gavin abstained from homosexual activity and instead devoted his life to campaigning against the destruction of traditional marriage and family values.
Gavin died on Monday at the Chelmer Railway Station in Queensland, The Australian notes, adding that “his death is not being treated as suspicious.”
Gavin was described as a “genuinely nice soul” by his friend Friend Solomon Sankari in an interview with Buzzfeed News. “Well-liked by all he met. Intelligent, funny and caring.”
In a statement published via the Brisbane Times, Gavin’s family had a clear message to those who continue to malign him as a “deeply troubled” person: “you never knew him.”
Their statement reads, in part:
To everyone who knew our son and brother and shared their stories of who Wilson Gavin really was – we thank you.
To those who have described Wilson as “a deeply troubled young man”, including so-called family members – with all due respect – you never knew him.
To anyone who is or was angry with Wilson – we know he regularly got the “how” wrong and occasionally got the “what” wrong. This made us angry with him too.
To the LGBTIQA+ communities and Rainbow Families Queensland – we love and support you.
To young, politically motivated people of all persuasions – we implore you to seek kind and wise mentors who will guide you, and not use you or wash their hands of you when you no longer serve their purposes.
To those who are now regretting words said or typed in anger that may have contributed to another person’s suffering – we know and share your pain all too well.
The viral video that led to the social media campaign against Gavin shows him and several other protesters confronting drag performer “Diamond Good-Rim” and chanting, “Drag queens are not for kids” at the Brisbane Square Library on Sunday afternoon.
The video quickly spread all over the world, attracting hateful comments from lowly keyboard warriors all the way up to prominent Australians politicians like Trevor Evans.
“The ratbags who protested the event wouldn’t know liberal values if they fell over them,” said Evans, Queensland’s first openly gay MP, according to the Brisbane Times.
Gavin was no stranger to making headlines and drawing the ire of pro-LGBT activists.
Back in 2017, the then-19-year-old spoke at a “You Can Say No” rally protesting against same-sex “marriage,” in Australia, saying, “I support what marriage really is and I’m gay.”
Accused of “internalized homophobia” at the time Gavin said of his detractors, “They hate me because I’m a conservative and they hate me more because I’m a gay conservative,” according to The Daily Mail.
“They hate me because I’m a conservative, and they hate me more because I’m a gay conservative,” he said in an interview on Sky News at the time. “I’m not a homophobe. I love gay men. You can’t call me a homophobe just because I’m opposed to same-sex marriage.”
Now, Gavin’s death is serving as a call for compassionate discourse on social media.
“Drag queen protester Wilson Gavin’s suicide exposes horrors of online abuse,” tweeted The Australian, noting that Gavin had received “a barrage of social media abuse” resulting from the viral video.
The suicide of drag queen protester Wilson Gavin just hours after he attracted a storm of online abuse has supercharged debate over the use of social media as a weapon to attack political opponents https://t.co/gmNKwvqP7S
— The Australian (@australian) January 13, 2020
“The alt left harassed and bullied [by] Wilson Gavin, a gay man, for opposing “drag queen story time” until he took his own life,” said another Twitter user. “They are directly responsible for his death. If this isn’t a wake up call I don’t know what is.”
The alt left harassed and bullied Wilson Gavin, a gay man, for opposing “drag queen story time” until he took his own life. They are directly responsible for his death. If this isn’t a wake up call idk what is
— female hysteria self DX (@female1st) January 13, 2020
Liberal National Party member George Christensen even announced he was quitting Twitter:
George Christensen says he's quitting Twitter, saying it's "broken" pic.twitter.com/XjU3LQWLb9
— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) January 13, 2020
One thing is for certain: our words matter. If we are not compelled by our love of God to treat our fellow humans as bearers of His image, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13, we are as useless as a “clanging cymbal.”
We must oppose those who seek to wreak havoc on our society, but we must speak the truth to them in love, remembering that not one of them is too far for God’s mighty hand to reach.
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