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Medical Examiner Confirms Suicide in Passing of LGBTQ Teen Nex Benedict

The devastating loss of Nex Benedict, a 16-year-old member of the 2SLGBTQ community, has reignited conversations about bullying and violence against LGBTQ+ youth in schools. 

Benedict, who identified as nonbinary and used they/them pronouns, died by suicide one day after a physical altercation with fellow students at Owasso High School in Oklahoma.

Autopsy Report Confirms Tragic Circumstances

The release of the autopsy report by the state’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner on Wednesday confirmed Benedict’s cause of death, shedding light on the tragic circumstances surrounding their passing. 

As Benedict’s family grieves, questions about the extent of bullying and harassment they faced in school have surfaced, prompting calls for accountability and action.

The significance of Benedict’s identity as a nonbinary individual within the 2SLGBTQ community adds layers of complexity to their story. Sue Benedict, Nex’s mother, a registered member of the Choctaw Nation, emphasized the importance of understanding the challenges faced by gender non-conforming individuals, particularly within the context of indigenous communities.

Freedom Oklahoma, a political advocacy group championing LGBTQ+ rights, issued a statement condemning Benedict’s death as emblematic of the broader attacks faced by transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. The organization highlighted the urgency of addressing systemic discrimination and violence targeting 2SLGBTQ+ youth, both in schools and in society at large.

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Freedom Oklahoma Condemns Tragic Loss of Benedict, Advocates for LGBTQ+ Rights

The devastating loss of Nex Benedict, a 16-year-old member of the 2SLGBTQ community, has reignited conversations about bullying and violence against LGBTQ+ youth in schools.

The tragic incident has prompted widespread concern about the well-being of LGBTQ+ youth, who are disproportionately affected by mental health struggles, bullying, and violence. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), LGBTQ+ students are at a heightened risk of suicidal ideation and attempts compared to their non-LGBTQ+ peers. Addressing these disparities requires comprehensive support systems within educational institutions and communities.

In response to concerns raised by advocacy groups, the Department of Education has initiated an investigation into Owasso Public Schools, where Benedict attended. The district has emphasized its commitment to addressing bullying and ensuring the safety of all students, but questions remain about the effectiveness of existing policies and protocols.

The Owasso Police Department, while suspecting suicide as the cause of Benedict’s death early in the investigation, awaited confirmation from the medical examiner’s office before making definitive statements. With the release of the autopsy report, efforts to raise awareness about mental health resources, such as the Oklahoma Mental Health Lifeline, have intensified to support individuals in crisis.

The Human Rights Campaign, a prominent LGBTQ+ advocacy organization, issued a statement expressing solidarity with Benedict’s family and condemning anti-LGBTQ violence and bullying. The tragedy serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need to create safe and inclusive environments for all students, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

As communities mourn the loss of Nex Benedict, their story serves as a poignant reminder of the devastating consequences of discrimination and intolerance. Moving forward, it is imperative that society redoubles its efforts to combat LGBTQ+ bullying and violence, ensuring that every young person can thrive in an environment of acceptance and respect.

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