The University of Queensland Student Union will commemorate former councillor and drag queen storytime protestor Wilson Gavin who died earlier this year. The gay student took his own life the day after a protest against a drag queen storytime event in Brisbane.
Wilson Gavin was also president of the University of Queensland Liberal National Club (UQLNC). He led a protest by the club against a Drag Queen Storytime event in January. Video of the protest at Brisbane Square Library went viral. The following morning, Wilson Gavin died.
Despite the club’s continued use of ‘Liberal National’ in their name, the LNP withdrew affiliation back in December 2019.
Following the protest, a spokesperson for Queensland’s LNP Opposition leader Deb Frecklington disassociated the LNP from the club.
“Last year the party resolved to disendorse the UQ club and as such, it is not affiliated in any way with the LNP.
“The club does not represent our views and values.”
Other University of Queensland associations also condemned the protest. Some questioned the continued affiliation of the UQLNC with the Student Union. They called for an investigation into whether the club breached the union’s code of conduct.
Union president Ethan Van Roo Douglas also expressed disappointment in the actions of the club
“While the union endorses freedom of expression and student activism, we strongly condemn aggressive behaviour that intimidates and causes distress to children and their families.”
Commemorative plaque for Wilson Gavin
Ethan Van Roo Douglas told the Courier-Mail today that the union will install a commemorative plaque in Gavin’s honour. He described the spot chosen for the plaque as Wilson Gavin’s favourite spot on the campus. It is on a balcony in the university union complex.
Van der Roo Douglas said Wilson Gavin ‘spent many hours debating, joking and philosophising with friends and rivals alike’ on the balcony.
“Regardless of how you felt about him, no one can deny he had an impact on the community for the few years he was part of it. He was very well known, respected by many and there were many who very, very strongly disagreed with him.”
“I know what (Gavin’s) legacy is to me as someone who knew him, but I hope to the public it is a reminder of how ugly things can get, how awful we can be to each other and frankly, that nothing in student politics is worth another person’s life.”
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