The leader of a university political club who was filmed confronting a drag queen at a children’s reading event on the weekend has been found dead.
The president of Queensland University’s Liberal National Club, Wilson Gavin, is understood to have taken his own life on Monday morning, the ABC reported.
It comes just a day after he was filmed leading a group of protesters who interrupted the “Drag Queen Story Time” being held at the Brisbane Square Library on Sunday.
Queensland MP for the Liberal National Party, Dr Mark Robinson, confirmed the death Monday afternoon writing he was “deeply saddened” by the news.
In footage of Sunday’s incident, Mr Gavin could be seen clashing with two drag queens in a heated confrontation while the group repeatedly chanted “drag queens are not for kids”.
Johnny Valkyrie, a LGBTQIA activist who attended the event as her drag queen persona Queeny, said later on Facebook children attending the event were left crying and their parents were distressed by the incident.
After the footage went viral Sunday, the UQ Liberal National Club took to Facebook Sunday to defend itself in the face of widespread condemnation.
On Monday, the group’s Facebook page was deactivated.
The Liberal National Party distanced itself from the UQLNC which was disaffiliated in December, the ABC reported.
During a press conference on Monday, Queensland Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said she would not comment on the reports of Mr Gavin's death.
"In relation to the unconfirmed reports relating to a young man, out of respect for the family, I won't be making any comments on this matter," she said.
"I think today is a day to think about a bit of compassion and respect for people."
However MP Mark Robinson expressed sadness at the news on Twitter Monday afternoon, saying Mr Gavin took a “principled stand” for his beliefs.
“As current State patron of the UQ LN Club, I’m deeply saddened to hear of the death of Wilson Gavin,” the Queensland state MP wrote.
Rainbow Families Queensland was the group who organised the reading event and released a statement Monday saying they had been informed of Mr Gavin’s death.
"Rainbow Families Queensland were informed earlier today that the leader of yesterday's drag story time protest took his own life this morning," the statement said.
"We are deeply saddened by this news and extend our sympathies to his family."
I am deeply saddened to hear the tragic news of the passing of Wilson Gavin this morning.
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.
— Diamond Good-Rim (@DiamondRim) January 13, 2020
Meanwhile Mr Valkyrie who was unwillingly caught up in the incident penned an emotional post following reports of the tragic passing.
“I have been made aware of an extremely distressing incident ￼following the coverage on the ￼altercation ￼at the library yesterday,” he wrote Monday afternoon.
“My heart goes out to the family and friends of the affected. If the family are reading this please know that I support you, and I am here to gather support and I know you are good people.”
‘A very decent and kind person’
A friend of Mr Gavin has described him as a very decent person who had his own struggle and made mistakes.
“I was friends with Wilson. Away from the social media storms and headlines, he was at his core a very decent and kind person that cared for others,” Drew Pavlou wrote in a public Facebook post.
“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 friend has described Mr Gavin as “intelligent, witty, articulate ... with a good heart”.
“I knew Wilson for a few years - we met through our involvement in the Australian Monarchist League,” Satyajeet Marar wrote on Facebook.
“Despite holding opinions that some people disagree with strongly, he would defend them with conviction.
“Even when the two of us argued, as we did over the many things we disagreed on, he never once resorted to personal insult or vitriol.”
Yahoo News Australia has contacted the University of Queensland for comment.
The university has urged students seeking support to contact Student Services.
“The University understands that the events of the past two days are very distressing for many people. Our priority is to provide support for our students and staff who have been impacted,” the university said in a statement Monday afternoon.
“Mutual respect and diversity are core values of the University, and we hope that everyone shows consideration for those affected during the difficult days ahead.”
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.