Friend of student who died by suicide after viral drag queen protest condemns online abuse
A friend of Wilson Gavin, the conservative student who died by suicide after a video of him leading a drag queen story time protest went viral, has spoken out to condemn online abuse and vitriol.
Around 15 to 20 students from the University of Queensland Liberal National Club protested at Brisbane Square Library, Australia, chanting “drag queens are not for kids”, on Sunday, January 12.
A video of the group went viral, including the club’s gay president Wilson Gavin, 21, who received a huge amount of backlash online.
Gavin was found dead at Chelmer Railway Station the next morning at 7:07am. Ambulance officers rushed to the scene, but said he died from critical injuries, Buzzfeed News reported. No other details were provided by medics.
Now Gavin’s friend, Drew Pavlou, has spoken out about his final conversation, saying that he seemed positive just hours before his death.
According to Daily Mail Australia, Pavlou described Gavin as “the bullet-proof guy”, and added that his friend’s suicide was “the last thing you would have ever expected”.
He added: “I heard from other people as late as 7pm [on Sunday night] he was telling people, ‘It’s all good, we’re going to keep going, we’re fine.’
“And then suddenly in the morning we all woke to the terrible news. It just was a huge shock.”
Pavlou said he hadn’t agreed with the drag queen story time protest, but hoped that Gavin’s death would discourage people from abusing others online.
He said: “The thing is though you are not a full person at the age of 20. You can make mistakes.
“You may think your individual contribution, or your individual small attack is meaningless, but really it all adds up and when there’s that level of feeding frenzy, it all adds up and no 20-year-old can handle it.”
Pavlou added in a Facebook post: “Away from the social media storms and headlines, he was at his core a very decent and 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.
“He had his struggles and made mistakes, and it is a tragedy for us all that he ultimately succumbed to his suffering and pain.”
Another of Gavin’s friends, Christopher Stewart, told Daily Mail Australia: “He was genuinely irreplaceable … we won’t see the likes of him again.”
Satya Marar, a third friend who met Gavin at a monarchist group, said he assumed the student was confident and didn’t realise that he was struggling.
He said: “I expected he would turn up on Sky News tomorrow and tell the haters to go stuff themselves – and do what he does best.
“I didn’t think this could happen.”
If you are in the US and are having suicidal thoughts, suffering from anxiety or depression, or just want to talk, call the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255. If you are in the UK, you can contact the Samaritans on 116 123.
If you are in Australia, you can contact Lifeline at 13 11 14.