Man takes own life after footage of protest goes viral: 'He had his struggles'

The man who led a protest against drag queens reading to a group of children at a library in Australia has died, according to the Australian Associated Press (AAP)

Wilson Gavin, the president of the University of Queensland's Liberal National Club, committed suicide Monday morning after footage of his participation in the protest went viral. The Liberal National Club is one of the oldest conservative societies in the country, according to the college's website. 

Gavin, who was gay but actively campaigned against same-sex marriage, spearheaded a protest at a children's storytelling event at the Brisbane Square Library on Sunday, the Brisbane Times reports. Two drag queens had reportedly been reading to and singing along with the youngsters, when Gavin, along with other members of the club, stormed in and chanted, "Drag queens are not for kids." 

Singer Jessica Origliasso, of the pop duo The Veronicas, was purportedly at the event and shared the incident on Instagram in a now-deleted post. 

"This morning a good friend of mine took her daughter along to a children’s storytelling event in Brisbane by two gorgeous Drag Queens, when a screaming group calling themselves the UQ young Libs stormed the event, causing chaos and distress to children and everybody there," she wrote. 

"Our world is in need of love & healing, now more than ever," she continued. "What they did today was add to the bigotry, division and trauma young children are left to face in today’s society."

Brisbane mother Jenny Griffin told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) said her children were taken aback by the protest. 

"My kids were shocked, confused and just scared," she said. "My daughter was snuggling into me and starting to cry."

Footage of the protest went viral, drawing criticism and forcing the club to defend itself on its Facebook page, according to ABC. 

"Today the UQLNC took a stand to defend [Liberal National Party] values against a corrosive gender ideology," it wrote. "After a ratepayer-funded Drag Queen Story Hour finished this Sunday, we decided to make a public demonstration against the Brisbane City Council endorsing it."

The Liberal National Party has since distanced itself from the demonstration. The Times reports that it had, in fact, removed its affiliation with the college's club in December. 

Amid Gavin's death, his friend Drew Pavlou took to Facebook to remember him on Monday. 

"Away from the social media storms and headlines, he was at his core a very decent and kind person that cared for others," Pavlou wrote. "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," Pavlou continued. "Today is a reminder of all we must do to affirm to young marginalized Australians the intrinsic worth and value of their lives."

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