Nex Benedict Should Be Alive

nex-benedictNex Benedict died February 8; Photo: GoFundMe

Nonbinary teenager Nex Benedict’s Death Happened Right After A Beating Episode at School

On February 8th, 16 year-old nonbinary Oklahoma resident, Nex Benedict, died** a day after being attacked and assaulted in their school bathroom.

Nex was a member of the Choctaw Tribe.

Nex enjoyed drawing, reading and playing video games.

Nex loved their cat Zeus.

Nex should be alive.

The murder of Nex Benedict is devastating.

The fact that the group assault of this child was carried out by other children is a chilling reminder of the influence adults hold over young minds. When adults propagate extremist ideologies and fuel the spread of hate, it’s sadly not surprising that hate crimes ensue.

Melanie Willingham-Jaggers (she/they), GLSEN’s Executive Director, released the following official statement about Nex Benedicts’ death.

“We must name the role that individuals and legislation have played in this murder.

Nex’s life was taken due to anti-trans hatred peddled by State Superintendent Ryan Walters, Chaya Raichik (Libs of TikTok) and extremist state legislators. These adults must be held accountable for their actions and words. Hate speech, especially when enshrined into law as demonstrated by Oklahoma’s transphobic bathroom ban, not only brainwashes children to commit atrocious acts of violence but also desensitizes the adults in their environment, fostering a culture of callousness and disregard for human life.

The tragic reality is that the youth who inflicted fatal injuries upon Nex were indoctrinated by fear and instilled with hatred of trans individuals. This indoctrination was so potent that they felt justified in carrying out a deadly assault on their peer in a school bathroom.

All children should be able to go to school and come home alive. Trans, non-binary and queer kids should be able to go to school and come home alive. As we grieve this loss, we persist in our fight and redouble our commitment to Rise Up in support of queer and trans youth, and against extremism that attempts to use our education system to further hate and to erase queer youth.

We will honor Nex’s memory by tirelessly advocating for every child in our education system to be regarded with respect, supported, and affirmed.

We insist that all children be taught the truth of the world around them.

We insist that our education system produces youth who foster connections and compassion towards others, equipped with the courage and capabilities to construct a society that we, as adults, have struggled to establish—a society where every individual is embraced and valued.

Rest in power, Nex.”


[This release was published in the March 14th issue of The Rainbow Times.]

**[UPDATE] On March 13, the Oklahoma State Medical Examiner’s Office released a summary autopsy report listing Nex Benedict’s manner of death as suicide. The summary autopsy report lists the probable cause of death as diphenhydramine and fluoxetine combined toxicity.

Editor’s Note: In the US: If you or a loved one have contemplated suicide or are believed to be in the midst of a crisis, call the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to connect with a trained guidance counselor. Outside the US, a worldwide directory of resources and international hotlines is provided by the International Association for Suicide Prevention, and you can turn to Befrienders Worldwide (Global Suicide Prevention).

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