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Death of Nonbinary Teen is a Wakeup Call to Oklahoma Officials and Society

Death of Nonbinary Teen is a Wakeup Call to Oklahoma Officials and Society

Death of Nonbinary Teen is a Wakeup Call to Oklahoma Officials and Society

Nex Benedict, a 16-year-old teen, died following a fight at an Oklahoma high school. Although the investigations continue, LGBTQ+ advocates blame the death of nonbinary teen on the increased hostility towards the LGBTQ+ community.

According to the family, Nex identified as nonbinary and had told them that they and a transgender student were involved in a fight with other students at Owasso High School. As the police continue with investigations, it remains unclear whether the fight contributed to Nex’s death or not.

The police, however, are yet to classify the investigation as criminal, with early autopsy reports indicating that their death was not as a result of trauma. According to Owasso police, the full autopsy report will be available later.

Death of Nonbinary Teen is a Reminder that No One Should Suffer Due to Their Sex Identity

No one should go through what Nex allegedly went through. Cases of discrimination and violence against the members of the LGBTQ+ community have no place in the 21st century. Learning and government institutions should ensure safety and equal rights for all people regardless of their gender identity.

As we wait for investigation results, we hope that Oklahoma schools and government officials will work to create an environment that respects all people’s rights no matter their background. We also urge members of the community to be tolerant of each other. We are all equal before God and no one should discriminate against another based on their gender or sexual orientation.

Grandmother Says Nex was Badly Beaten

Cases of bullying of LGBTQ+ teens in schools are not uncommon. Sue Benedict, Nex’s grandmother and guardian said it was not the first time that Nex experienced bullying at Owasso High School. She admits that Nex had complained of bullying numerous times but wasn’t aware it was that bad.

The grandmother told The Independent that Nex was beaten badly during the February 7th fight with three older girls in the school bathroom. She adds that Nex hit their head on the floor during the fight.

Nex (they/them) was in 10th grade and didn’t identify themselves as male or female.

According to the police, after the February 7 physical altercation in Owasso High School, the students went into the assistant principal and the nurse’s offices. The schools contacted the parents and the nurse conducted health evaluations on the victim and later suggested that Nex seek further care.

A resource officer at Owasso High School took Nex to Bailey Medical Center where Nex was examined and questioned regarding the incident. Nex and their parents later went home.

Unfortunately, on the afternoon of February 8, the Owasso Fire Department medics got an emergency call involving Nex. They later took them to a pediatric emergency hospital, where they died, according to the Owasso police.

The family is troubled by the incident and urges the investigators to conduct a thorough and fair investigation. The family understands the harmful effects of bullying and violence in schools, especially for minority groups like members of the LGBTQ+ community. The Benedicts urge everyone to take bullying seriously to avoid other tragedies in the future.

Death of Nonbinary Teen—Nex was a Victim of Bullies

This is not the first time. According to messages seen by a CNN affiliate, some students might have been bullying them in school. When Nex and their friends responded, it prompted the three girls to come after them.

Nex suffered bruises from the fight and had to take painkillers. They added that they were still dizzy and nauseous the following morning and felt they could suffer a concussion. The text messages didn’t however reveal what the bullying was about.

Nex Death is a Wakeup Call for Oklahoma Officials Who Target LGBTQ+ Residents

Recently, advocates have accused Oklahoma officials of taking actions that seem to target LGBTQ+ individuals.

One such action is the passing of the “bathroom bill” in 2022 that requires students in all PreK-12 schools to use bathrooms and locker rooms based on the sex designated at birth.

In addition, Governor Kevin Stitt’s executive order in 2023 requires government agencies to identify people according to the sex designated at birth instead of gender identity.

Nex’s death comes as a reminder not to judge or discriminate against people based on their gender identity or sexual orientation.

Although the school confirmed that there was a physical altercation, they could not give more details due to federal privacy laws. We wait to see what the full autopsy report will reveal about the incident and the disciplinary actions the school will take against the involved students.

Death of Nonbinary Teen—We Are Here for You

At LGBTQ and All, we always advocate for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. Whether in school, workplace, places of worship, or public places, we believe that everyone has their space and we can coexist peacefully and in love.

We know that Nex’s case is one of the many incidents affecting members of the LGBTQ+ community. It’s our hope it will serve as a reminder that we are our neighbour’s keeper and we should show love and compassion to all people in society.

We will continue to provide educational resources to help reduce the stigma of being gay or transgender. In addition, we offer therapist and psychologist resources for those seeking LGBTQ+-friendly professionals to guide them in their journey.

We hope that Nex and their family will get justice and find closure.

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Agata Slezak – M&H English speaking Clinical Psychologist – Therapist – Sexologist

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