University of Queensland Liberal National Club president Wilson Gavin died yesterday, yet even in the immediate aftermath ‘tolerant progressives’ still weren’t done vilifying him.
I am, was, friends with Wilson. He had nothing to apologise for. He hated no one and dearly loved his Roman Catholic Church, taking his religion very seriously. He loved the Queen and our Commonwealth, and passionately advocated for conservative principles as the best ideas for his fellow Australians.
During the campaign to defend or undefine marriage in 2017, Wilson was one of three brave, young, gay men who came out as conservatives voting ‘no’ and were willing to be interviewed by me. One changed his mind the day before; the other participated on condition his identity be obscured.
Wilson’s joy and warmth of character exploded from his easy smile and infectious laugh through the lens and screen to the viewer. He described how fantastic the legal rights of homosexuals are in Australia.
“I’m very blessed to live in Australia, I think. My family have always been completely supportive of my sexuality. I went to a Catholic School – the school was very supportive of my sexuality. I’ve never experienced overt discrimination or hatred of any type regarding my sexuality. I’ve never felt hated for being gay in Australia.”
I asked about his experience coming out as a conservative against undefining marriage. He smiled wryly and explained, “Very different story… As a conservative, you are just subjected to an unending barrage of vitriol and hatred and of the nastiest comments imaginable.”
Wilson Gavin made reference to the tragic mental health crisis amongst gay people in Australia, stating, “Same-sex marriage is not going to fix that.”
It was undoubtedly this concern which motivated him to publicly protest the Brisbane City Council Library Drag Storytime.
I find it as vulgar and baseless to blame people sincerely disagreeing with the LNP Club’s actions for Wilson’s mental health, as it is to blame Christians and conservatives opposed to normalising sexual and gender confusion for the mental health of people they disagree with.
Wilson agreed, and in 2017 to such accusations retorted, “Telling young gay people that just because a certain issue is being discussed in the media they’re gonna want to go and kill themselves… it is so infantilising… it’s ridiculous.”
The public backlash by ‘tolerant progressives’ was far from mostly civilised but was vicious and unrelenting. Of course, there is a difference between robustly debating the merits of undefining a timeless institution or allowing the pollution of innocent children on government property, and indicting a specific individual’s or group’s character with hashtags like #HitlerYouth or trigger-happy accusations of homophobia, bigotry, personal hatred and worse.
And in response to the news of Wilson’s tragic death, the shameful personal attacks continued.
One wrote, “It is a shame for him rather than embrace the LGBTQI community, to better understand himself, he chose to go to war on it. His last act, one of hate, will be what he will be remembered for.”
Another snarled, “The mental gymnastics required every day to overcome internalised homophobia can be so tiresome. Poor Wilson Gavin. He lost his battle today against all that self-hatred and self-loathing.”
Rather than holding fire, they implied he was at war with the “LGBTQI community”, didn’t understand his sexuality, acted in hate and will be remembered only for that, hated & loathed himself because he was homophobic. Far worse things were said on a Facebook page called “UQ Stalkerspace” before administrators deleted them.
The evil of the leftist ‘tolerance’ charade is they appoint themselves the moral police, judge and executioner of anyone who reaches different, traditional moral convictions or shows even an ounce of the public interest they permit themselves. The use of social media for bullying is well documented, as are the too frequently tragic results. Ignorance of the potential cost is not a plausible excuse for anyone who’s ever clucked their tongue or worse, echoed the gross rhetoric that a simple debate might be responsible for someone dying of suicide. It’s shameful to note that the nation’s “wokest” papers, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, ignored Wilson’s death in their print editions, despite their constant sanctimony when bullying or worse is framed through a “progressive” lens.
I hope tears of sincere regret and resolute repentance flow from those who so recklessly indulged their outrage.
I will try to attend Wilson’s farewell from this life and honour him as a hero who refused to be bullied into silence by the angry mob or to fear the personal cost of living out his convictions. I will remember him as the brave man who certainly was not a homophobe but defied the toxic ‘tolerant progressives’, saying, “You can’t call me a homophobe just because I oppose same-sex marriage, just because I’m against your agenda. You can’t shout me down the way you can most people. You can’t shout me down by saying I’m a bigot and I’m a homophobe.”
Vale Wilson Gavin.
If you or someone you know may be at risk of suicide call Lifeline (13 11 14), the Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467) or Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800).
Dave Pellowe is a speaker, writer and political commentator and blogs at PelloweTalk.com.
Photograph: Dave Pellowe.
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