A gay, conservative student has reportedly taken his life after footage of him and fellow protestors disrupting a drag queen story hour in Brisbane, Australia, went viral yesterday.
The event took place at Brisbane Square Library on Sunday afternoon. Drag queen story hours have grown in popularity in both the US and Australia, but have sometimes been met with protests from conservative groups.
Yesterday’s event was disrupted by 15-20 young protestors from the UQ [University of Queensland] Liberal National Club. However, the group is not formally connected to the country’s right-leaning Liberal National Party and was a college-based group of like-minded conservative students.
On Friday, on its Facebook page, the group slammed local officials for allowing the event to go ahead.
“SHAME on Brisbane City Council for sponsoring this event. What people do behind the closed doors of a nightclub is their business, but this event is designed to indoctrinate and sexualize young children. Our kids deserve better than this! … Why is this moral filth being paid for by the taxpayer?”
Appearing to lead the protest, and filmed arguing with Diamond Good-Rim, one of the drag queens involved, was the club president, Wilson Gavin, 21. Fellow protestors behind him chanted “drag queens are not for kids.”
Footage of the demonstration quickly circulated on social media.
Singer Jessica Origliasso, of the Australian band Veronicas, was among those to share it on Instagram, slamming the protestors.
“A huge f*** you to the group of screaming UQ Young Libs who stormed a children’s storytelling event hosted by two drag queens,” she said, reported 7News.
“I am absolutely furious, our world is in need of love & healing, now more than ever.”
UQU President Ethan Van Roo Douglas said in a statement that the organization was “appalled” by the behavior of the students.
Sunday was not the first time Gavin, who was gay, had protested about LGBTQ-related issues. He was vocal in his opposition to same-sex marriage during the Australian postal vote in 2017, even appearing on TV news shows to argue against it.
Fronting a “You Can Say No” rally against same-sex marriage, he said, “I support what marriage really is and I’m gay.”
However, following footage of the protest going viral, Gavin is suspected of killing himself. An ambulance was called to Chelmer, Brisbane South, around 7am Monday morning local time. Mr Gavin was found with critical injuries.
In the wake of the news, performer Diamond Good Rim issued the following statement: “’My thoughts and deep condolences are with his family and friends at this tragic time.
“We all need to band together at this awful, difficult time. Please, if any of you are feeling affected in any way by these recent events, reach out for support.”
Johnny Valkyrie, the other drag queen participating in the event, said, “If the family (of Mr Gavin) are reading this please know that I support you, and I am here to gather support and I know you are good people.”
The University of Queensland said it will offer support to other students affected by Gavin’s death and events of the last two days.
University of Queensland senator Drew Pavlou, a friend of Gavin’s, said he was, “at his core a very kind person that cared for others.
“I had the great privilege of seeing that side of him in life.
“He was hilarious and a riot to be around, his fame will always remain legendary.”
Sally Hugg, who campaigned for same-sex marriage in Australia, was among those to express sorrow at Gavin’s death.
“Wilson Gavin was gay.
“I don’t know why he campaigned against SSM. I don’t know why he was so angry at a drag queen. I don’t know why he took his life.
“But I wish he was still here so he could have found us all. We would love him and forgive him. We do love him and forgive him.”
Wilson Gavin was gay.
I don’t know why he campaigned against SSM. I don’t know why he was so angry at a drag queen. I don’t know why he took his life.
But I wish he was still here so he could have found us all. We would love him and forgive him. We do love him and forgive him.
— Sally Rugg (@sallyrugg) January 13, 2020