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Statement on the Death of Nex Benedict

Our hearts are breaking for the family, friends, and community of Nex Benedict, a nonbinary Indigenous child in Oklahoma who should have enjoyed a long and beautiful life. Nex was sixteen years old, loved to read, draw, play Minecraft, and spend time with their cat, Zeus.

All students deserve a supportive learning environment, including LGBTQ2S+ students, and our public schools have a responsibility to keep students safe. Oklahoma is one of several states with laws requiring public school students to only use the bathroom that matches the gender they were assigned at birth. Laws targeting transgender and nonbinary people have devastating, sometimes lethal, consequences. Relatives say Nex had been bullied for months before they were assaulted in the girls’ student restroom. Our current climate of escalating hate in online and offline spaces, and proliferating laws targeting transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming individuals are putting young people at risk.

We continue to fight for all young people to be who they are, do what they love, and live. Rest in power, Nex.

Resources:

Poe v. Drummond

Fowler v. Stitt

GLAD, with White & Case LLP, filed a friend of the court brief in the US Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in a case challenging Oklahoma’s law categorically banning transgender people from updating their birth certificates.

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