Equality Florida's Response To The Tragic Death of Nex Benedict, A 16-Year-Old Non-Binary High School Student In Oklahoma



We are heartbroken over the death of Nex Benedict, a 16-year-old non-binary high school student in Oklahoma.

According to reports, Nex was beaten by multiple students in the school bathroom on February 7th and died the next day at a local hospital. The full autopsy has not yet been released.

Nex’s mother, Sue Benedict, says Nex was the target of relentless bullying at the beginning of the 2023 school year — just months after Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed an anti-transgender bathroom ban into law.

We join the chorus of voices across the country in demanding a full investigation unhampered by bias.

And we want answers from the school about their response to serious allegations of intense bullying of Nex and any other LGBTQ students.

While we don’t have all the answers, the death of Nex has struck a cord of anger and fear precisely because of the increase in hate violence, harassment, death and bomb threats as right-wing attacks on the LGBTQ community, especially transgender and nonbinary people, have intensified. Nex’s death also comes on the heels of the fatal shooting of a gay man in Hillsborough County a day after he recorded a video recounting the gunman using homophobic slurs and telling him, "You're going to die, you're going to die."

The political toxicity that extremists are creating with anti-trans rhetoric and harassment is putting lives in danger.

The multi-year attack on the existence of transgender people, cooked up by right-wing think tanks to manufacture panic, has done nothing but inspire cruelty and violence. Anti-trans policies and laws being passed in Florida and across the country are intended to make the transgender community less safe, feel unwelcome, and bully them out of public life entirely. And it’s not an accident that when transphobia and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric are spewed from the highest levels of leadership, transgender and nonbinary kids take the brunt of the bigotry.

Transgender people exist — and always will. Transgender people deserve to live their lives openly and authentically. Transgender people deserve joy. Transgender people deserve access to health care. Transgender people deserve to grow old.

We must #HonorThemwithAction and never stop fighting for a world where transgender and nonbinary kids have the opportunity to thrive, just as they are.

Nex’s mother said, “Nex was a straight-A student who enjoyed drawing, reading, playing video games Ark and Minecraft, and was devoted to their cat Zeus.” Our hearts go out to Nex’s family and friends as they grieve during this difficult time.

Vigils and memorials in honor of Nex are being planned across the country.

Rest In Power, Nex.


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