Wilson Gavin, 21, has been remembered as a loving son and brother who was compassionate. Picture: Supplied
Wilson Gavin, 21, has been remembered as a loving son and brother who was compassionate. Picture: Supplied

‘Loved for his compassion’: Wilson Gavin’s family breaks silence

BREAKING their silence, the heartbroken family of Wilson Gavin, a 21-year-old university student who suicided after protesting against a drag queen reading event for children, has reached out to the LGBTIQA+ community.

Mr Gavin's parents Michael and Bridget and his two sisters have also addressed those who vented anger against him on social media, and taken aim at LNP politicians who "washed their hands" of him.

"To everyone who knew our son and brother and shared their stories of who Wilson Gavin really was - we thank you," they said in a 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.

"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."

Wilson Gavin, 21, has been remembered as a loving son and brother who was compassionate. Picture: Supplied
Wilson Gavin, 21, has been remembered as a loving son and brother who was compassionate. Picture: Supplied

Mr Gavin was president of the University of Queensland's Liberal National Club and died at Chelmer on Monday morning, hours after video was posted online showing him confronting drag queens in a library event held by the Brisbane City Council and Rainbow Families.

Openly gay, the former St Laurence's College student also campaigned against same-sex marriage in 2017.

Following Sunday's protest with other members of the Liberal National Club, Mr Gavin was the target of vicious online attacks on Twitter and Facebook.

"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 family 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's family has paid tribute to the 21-year-old.
Wilson Gavin's family has paid tribute to the 21-year-old.

 

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington has declined to comment on the passing of Mr Gavin or the library protest, but said her party had disendorsed the UQ LNP Club late last year.

The Gavin family described Wilson as a strong, loving and kind person who would "regularly give the last note in his wallet to a homeless person on the street".

"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. 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.

"Wil worked tirelessly for causes without personal gain, gratitude, or in some cases, loyalty.

"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."

They acknowledged Queensland Rail, and thanked police and emergency services.

"To the employees of Queensland Rail and the commuters impacted by our son's decision to end his life in the way that he did - words cannot express our sorrow for you.

"To the police and emergency services personnel who have treated us with such dignity and compassion, and work with this type of trauma far too often - you have our deepest respect and gratitude."

 


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