The grieving family of Wilson Gavin, who died on Monday after protesting Drag Queen Storytime in Brisbane, have reached out to the LGBTIQ community in a moving statement.
The 21-year-old, who was openly gay, was president of UQ’s conservative Liberal National Club. He made national headlines leading the protest at Brisbane Square Library on Sunday. Footage of the protesters chanting “drag queens are not for kids” went viral online and was met with widespread backlash.
Gavin sadly died by suicide on Monday at Chelmer in Brisbane.
In a statement, his family said they will remember him as a “devoted and loving son and brother” who occasionally got his approach “wrong”. They also expressed “love and support” to the LGBTIQ communities he had long campaigned against.
“To everyone who knew our son and brother and shared their stories of who Wilson Gavin really was – we thank you,” they wrote in the statement.
“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.”
The family also addressed “anyone who is or was angry” with Wilson.
“We know he regularly got the ‘how’ wrong and occasionally got the ‘what’ wrong,” they wrote.
“This made us angry with him too.
“To the LGBTIQA+ communities and Rainbow Families Queensland – we love and support you.”
The family went on to address anyone “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,” they said.
“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.”
Wilson Gavin ‘desired to make the world better’
Gavin’s family said they will remember Wilson as “a devoted and loving” son and brother.
“We loved Wil for his compassion and sense of justice – just some of the many things he got right,” they wrote.
“We respected the unwavering strength of his convictions and desire to make the world better.
“And we admired Wil’s drive to contribute, so often in ways not many knew about. Like serving at a soup kitchen every Saturday or the year he spent teaching kids in Mongolia.
“He would regularly give the last note in his wallet to a homeless person on the street.
“Wil worked tirelessly for causes without personal gain, gratitude, or in some cases, loyalty.
“We will love him, always, and will be forever grateful he was part of our family.”
If you need someone to talk to, help is available from QLife on 1800 184 527 or online at QLife.org.au, Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.
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