Monday, February 26, 2024

‘We Warned You’

LGBTQ activists blame anti-trans legislation for Nex Benedict’s death

When this is the message you are sending what do you think is going to happen?


Story by Bevan Hurley 

Nex Benedict, 16
 died one day after being assaulted
 in a bathroom at Owasso High School in Oklahoma

As Oklahoma lawmakers introduced dozens of anti-LGBTQ bills last year, local advocacy groups had a warning.

“We were saying, ‘this is going to cost queer and trans kids their lives’,” Kylan Durant, president of the Oklahoma Pride Alliance, told The Independent in an interview.

“We tried to warn you and no one took it seriously and now here we are.”

Oklahoma’s anti-LGBTQ laws have come under scrutiny after the death of non-binary high school sophomore Nex Benedict, 16, on 8 February.

Nex collapsed at home one day after they got into a fight with three girls in a bathroom at Owasso High School. Nex told a family member they had been “jumped” after standing up to bullies, and the fight was three on one. They died in a hospital emergency room that night.

Owasso police have said an early autopsy indicated Nex had not died as a result of trauma. However, Nex’s family said through a lawyer they plan to conduct an independent investigation into their death.

Nex had been bullied for more than a year prior to the fight due to being gender fluid, according to their mother Sue Benedict.

Like many Republican-controlled legislatures across the United States, Oklahoma has seen a recent surge in proposed anti-LGBTQ legislation.

From bans on gender-affirming care to penalties for public school teachers asking students what their pronouns are, the collective weight has had a chilling effect on young people exploring their gender identity, Mr Durant said.

Oklahoma has the highest number of bills targeting LGTBQ youth in the country, according to the ACLU.

Days after Nex’s death, a house committee voted along party lines to advance a bill that would ban people born in Oklahoma from changing their gender on birth certificates. [they don't care.] 


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