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Vigils Held for Late Gender-Nonconforming Teenager Nex Benedict

HeadlineFeb 26, 2024

Vigils were held across the nation this weekend for Nex Benedict, an Oklahoma nonbinary 16-year-old who died the day after they were attacked in the Owasso High School bathroom by three girls. Authorities said last week Benedict did not die as a result of trauma, though full details from their autopsy have not been made public and investigations are ongoing. While being treated at the hospital, Nex Benedict spoke to a police officer about what happened.

Nex Benedict: “We went to the bathroom.”

Police officer: “OK.”

Nex Benedict: “And I was talking with my friends. They were talking with their friends. And we were laughing, and they had said something like 'Why do they laugh like that?' And they were talking about us in front of us. And so I went up there, and I poured water on them.”

Police officer: “OK.”

Nex Benedict: “And then all three of them came at me. … They came at me. They grabbed onto my hair. I grabbed onto them. I threw one of them into a paper towel dispenser. And then they got my legs out from under me and got me on the ground, started beating the [bleep] out of me.”

Police officer: “OK.”

Nex Benedict: “And then my friends tried to jump in and help, but I’m not sure. I blacked out.”

Nex Benedict identified within the Two Spirit, transgender and gender-nonconforming umbrella. Family members said they had faced bullying since last year. In 2022, Oklahoma lawmakers passed a law banning transgender students from using bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity.

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