Sunday morning, when protesters interrupted a Drag Queen story reading, seems like a long time ago. Between then and now, social media has been a maelstrom of passionate commentary: vitriolic, irrational, shocked, grief-stricken, gracious, empathetic, opportunistic.
The sudden, very tragic suicide of 21 year old Wilson Gavin left many people stunned and confused. His behaviour mere hours before had evinced raw anger, condemnation and deep hurt from people in the LGBTQI community and their supporters. These same people now had to deal with conflicted emotions; they had to find equilibrium between their heads and their hearts.
The Star Observer also felt this conflict. We had to find a balance between objectivity and sensitivity; between freedom of expression and responsible curation.
Social media allows people to be spontaneous, unguarded, indifferent, and we certainly saw the worst that unmitigated spite produces.
Overwhelmingly, however, the comments and discussions exhibited genuine sympathy, sadness and respect for Wilson Gavin and his family.
For a community that suffers frequent endless assault and abuse, this incident could have presented a chance to gloat. But we showed, for the most part, dignity, restraint, and understanding.
Wilson Gavin was as much a victim as a villain. A gay man with religious convictions, conservative values, and a deep need for acceptance, living in a society that does not easily allow that combination to work.
There will be analysis, discussion, hopefully positive action as a result of this event.
Let’s not let yet another life be lost in vain.
For our previous posts on this story, please click here.
If you or anyone you know needs help or support, please contact:
Lifeline on 13 11 14
Suicide Callback Service on 1300 659 467
Qlife on 1800 184 527