What we know about the death of nonbinary student Nex Benedict

Nex Benedict
Nex Benedict. Image: GoFundMe

16-year-old nonbinary student Nex Benedict died after allegedly being beaten by three classmates at their school in Owasso, Oklahoma. 

According to text messages shared with Fox23, Nex told a family member that they got “jumped” at school and ended up in the hospital emergency room.

Nex told the family member they’d been getting bullied by three other students.

“I got tired of it so I poured some water on them,” they wrote.

“All 3 came after me.” They said that they were “okay” after being in the ER despite some scrapes and bruises.

“If I’m still dizzy and nauseous in the morning I might have a concussion.”

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The next day, Nex was rushed back to the hospital by their grandmother, who they lived with, and died. The state medical examiner has yet to release their cause of death. Owasso Police said they are committed to conducting a thorough investigation and are currently awaiting the autopsy report.

The Human Rights Campaign released a statement in response to the teen’s death, saying Nex’s death is at least the second violent killing of a transgender or gender-expansive person HRC has learned of in 2024.

HRC said Nex “loved nature and watching the television show The Walking Dead”.

“They enjoyed drawing, reading and playing Ark and Minecraft,” the statement read.

“Nex also had a cat, Zeus, whom they loved. Nex’s family trace part of their roots to the Choctaw Nation, and were on a journey to understanding more about Nex’s identity – like many other parents of transgender and non-binary youth.”

Nex Benedict death linked to far-right TikTok account 

Activists have linked Nex’s death with an increase in anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric fuelled by social media.

Far-right account, Libs of TikTok (run by Chaya Raichik) has targeted Owasso High School before.

In 2022, the account targeted a queer teacher at the school who ended up resigning due to harassment.

Alarmingly, Chaya Raichik was also recently appointed to Oklahoma’s state library advisory board.

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“All students, including trans and gender-expansive students like Nex, have the right to feel safe and protected while attending school,” HRC Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative Tori Cooper said.

“That Nex was only 16 years old compounds this tragic injustice and they should have lived to see a fulfilling and authentic life. We continue to see a horrifying amount of violence against our community, and our community’s youth seem to be bearing the brunt of it all.

‘Extremist anti-LGBTQ+ hate accounts, like online troll Chaya Raichick, the woman behind “Libs of TikTok”, who was recently appointed to Oklahoma’s library advisory board, are perpetuating a vile and hateful narrative that is permitting these types of public attacks.

“Their hateful speech is having a direct, negative impact on the lives of trans and gender-expansive folks, including young students like Nex.”

If you need someone to talk to, help is available from QLife on 1800 184 527 or online at QLife.org.au.

Lifeline on 13 11 14

Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800

beyondblue on 1300 22 4636

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Sarah Davison
Sarah Davison

After working in print and radio, Sarah has joined the team at QNews to expand their coverage into South Australia. Sarah has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, and a Masters in Journalism, Media, and Communications. Get in touch: sarah@qnews.com.au

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