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Farwell Brett Gallard.
Friend and comrade.
As I mentioned on social media we lost a friend in the gender critical political world this last week, his name was Brett Gallard, he was a gender critical gay man, and he was my friend.
We recently had a space on Twitter as a memorial for Brett and we talked about what is sometimes known as “friends in the pocket”. I only met Brett in the flesh once, we did also zoom and we spoke on the phone, but our friendship consisted almost entirely of text.
To start with, I thought Brett was a bit of a bogan, his old profile picture looked like an angry young man. He told me that he was not very photogenic, and of all the negative things Brett said about himself that were untrue, this wasn’t one of them. In real life Brett was a handsome, well groomed man with a beautiful smile and sensitive intelligent eyes.
Through that little circle with a bad photo and a 280 character limit, a person started to emerge who was a cheerleader for the bullied. Women who enter the sex and gender debate get roundly abused and I started to notice this gay man telling the misogynists to fuck off all over the place.
…and meeting propaganda with evidence.
Brett became very interested in feminism and purchased all the latest radical feminist and gender critical books, often getting them signed by the author.
Like so many in the gender critical fight, Brett recognised in “TQ” politics, a type of bullying that was all too familiar.
Brett and I started to “inbox” about a suffragette scarf that we were interested in purchasing from Scotland. When my husband bought me the scarf for my birthday, we started to inbox about friends and family and share tweets and say things to each other that we couldn’t say on “Big twitter”.
Brett was a fan of my work and would screenshot his favourite parts of my articles and send them to me. I was a fan of his compassion and his humour and intelligence. He was an incredible networker and seemed to know absolutely everyone in the gender critical world.
Soon Brett and I were messaging with silly memes or something we saw that day, a bitchy comment we didn’t want to say to anyone else, or just inane conversation. the overwhelming response to Brett’s passing shows he was an easy friend to make.
Brett was known for his love of birds and especially magpies. Some of us were enthralled by the brutal story of the terrible duck mother who was criminally negligent, and of course Pinchy the magpie.
Brett had a broader affinity with wild pets and befriending them, this may have explained his fondness for me.
… he was fiercely loyal.
In September last year I got the opportunity to meet Brett when he went to the Gold Coast for a work event. As I was getting ready to go, my husband said to me “let me get this straight, you are going to a Gold Coast hotel to meet up with a man you know from twitter?” “Yes, that’s right” I said.
Brett and I had talked on the phone and over Zoom but meeting him in person was as you may imagine, constant chatter and furious agreement. We asked more personal questions face to face and showed each other the photos on our phones of our families, we talked about our childhoods, and he showed me with pride, the booth he had made for his employer, explaining why it was better than all the other displays at the trade show. It was better.
We agreed on almost everything in politics and in fashion and home styling, but we did see a few moments where I hit his boundaries. Brett was a complicated and normal person.
After a difficult time, that I will talk about at a more appropriate time, Brett grew dissolution with the fight and turned away from the bird app to try to concentrate on his own health.
We continued to text and talk, and a group of us tried very hard to keep hold of Brett, but he gave us the slip.
I honestly thought Brett and I would be lifelong friends and would reflect when we were old about how we were persecuted in the gender wars. I thought I would go and stay with him and he would come and stay with me, and we might get pissed and laugh about the stupid things we talked about in texts or in a twitter thread. He would tell me more about birds and how to become their friends, and I would tell him about how I have my dog on a new diet that he refuses to stick to.
However, Brett will remain what he was to me and will never see the recovery his family wanted for him. Brett was 48 and his life was marked by the joys and the scars common to humanity, but he was also visited by the the joys and scars common to gay men. I will carry him in my heart and in my activism as long as I draw breath, and that is my troth to you his friends and to those who sought to do him harm.
Brett leaves behind his loving and dedicated parents, his beloved sister and two adoring nephews. Fly free my darling.