The family of a young conservative who took his own life after a backlash over a drag queen story time protest, admit he got some things wrong.
But they say he was a young man with compassion who had a “desire to make the world better.”
Wilson Gavin and members of the University of Queensland Young Liberal National Club stormed a library in Brisbane on Sunday chanting “drag queens are not for kids”.
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Video footage of the protest went viral, sparking public outrage against the group and in particular Mr Gavin.
The 21-year-old, himself a gay man, was found dead on Monday morning.
His family has today released a statement expressing their anguish at his death and the circumstances leading up to it.
“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.”
The family also addressed the attacks Mr Gavin faced on social media in the wake of Sunday’s protest.
“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.
“To the people impacted by our son’s decision to end his life in the way that he did – words cannot express our sorrow for you.”
The family also thanked Police and emergency services for treating them with “dignity and compassion”.
“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. 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 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.
If you are in immediate danger call 000 now. If you require advice or assistance, the following services can offer counselling and support:
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