'We Share Your Pain': Wilson Gavin’s Family Address Words 'Typed In Anger' Before His Death
The family of a young man who died days after protesting a drag queen children's event have expressed their sorrow for those who have been impacted by his death.
Wilson Gavin, aged 21, died on Monday, one day after he was filmed during a widely-criticised protest at a 'drag queen storytime' event at a Brisbane library.
The protest, featuring some members of the University of Queensland's Liberal-National Club, involved a group of young people chanting "drag queens are not for kids".
Footage of the protest was filmed and shared widely on social media.
The UQ club had been disaffiliated by the Liberal National Party last year.
Just hours after the footage attracted widespread media attention, it was reported that Gavin had died.
On Thursday, a statement released by Gavin's family praised his "compassion and sense of justice", and that sometimes they got "angry with him too".
The statement also took aim at words "typed in anger".
"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 statement said.
It was shared by Gavin's father Michael, mother Bridget, and two sisters.
"To everyone who knew our son and brother and shared their stories of who Wilson Gavin really was – we thank you," the family's statement read.
"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."
Some claimed online abuse in the wake of the protest video could have contributed to Gavin's death.
His family did not blame anyone in their statement.
"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 statement continued.
"To the LGBTIQA+ communities and Rainbow Families Queensland – we love and support you."
The family spoke of the young man they knew who volunteered at a soup kitchen "every Saturday", taught children in Mongolia, and donated money to the homeless.
They also had veiled words for "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," the statement said.
"Wil worked tirelessly for causes without personal gain, gratitude, or in some cases, loyalty."
The statement also sent gratitude and wishes to police and emergency services, as well as expressing "sorrow" for Queensland Rail employees and commuters "impacted by our son’s decision to end his life".
"We loved Wil for his compassion and sense of justice – just some of the many things he got right. We respected the unwavering strength of his convictions and desire to make the world better," the family said.
"We remember him as a devoted and loving son and brother. We will love him, always and will be forever grateful he was part of our family."
Brisbane's Lord Mayor implored people on Monday to "ensure something positive comes from this tragedy".
One of Gavin's friends, Drew Pavlou, described him as "the bulletproof guy" on The Project on Wednesday. Pavlou expressed his sorrow at Gavin's death.
"He never deserved to die for this one mistake. The response was just, I think, over and above what he actually did," Pavlou said.
"It's really difficult because even I'm guilty of this, demonising people that we disagree with, jumping in on the bandwagon. In fact, I even posted condemning what Wilson did."
"What we need to take from this is a wakeup call. You may think your individual contribution or individual small attack is meaningless but it all adds up."