Human Rights Campaign demands federal investigation following death of trans teen Nex Benedict

HRC President Kelley Robinson said, "LGTBQ+ children, our children, deserve more than fear, bullying, and premature obituaries."

This article is about the Human Rights Campaign responding to the death of Nex Benedict. The image is of Nex, photographed from the chest up, smiling at the camera and wearing a white shirt and dark grey waistcoat.
Image: @iamn0tthe1 via X

Content warning: Mentions of physical violence and transphobia


This article has been updated on February 27, 2024. Since it was first written, new information has emerged confirming that Nex Benedict was trans.

Kelley Robinson, President of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is demanding a federal investigation following the death of Nex Benedict, a 16-year-old trans student at Owasso High School in Oklahoma.

Robinson, who describes herself as a parent first and foremost, released the following statement:

“The death of Nex Benedict, a trans teenager who died after being brutally assaulted in their high school, is a gut-wrenching tragedy that exposes the chilling reality of anti-trans hatred. The depths of this cruelty is sickening. Nex’s life demands justice. We are reaching out to the DOJ, we are encouraging the community to speak out. We are determined to fight for Nex and their family.

“Nex – you deserved so much more than your too-short life. You should have had the chance to make headlines for your life, not your death. LGTBQ+ children, our children, deserve more than fear, bullying, and premature obituaries.”

In addition to the released statement calling for a federal investigation into Nex’s death, the Human Rights Campaign has published a blog honouring Nex’s life. The blog describes Nex as a student who loved nature, drawing, reading, playing Minecraft, and their cat, Zeus.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Kelley Robinson (@kelleyjrobinson)

Nex passed away on February 7, one day after being involved in a physical altercation in the girls’ bathroom of their school. Three older female students reportedly attacked Nex and another transgender pupil in the girls’ bathroom, with the former suffering head injuries as a result.

Following the incident, Nex’s grandmother and adoptive parent, Sue Benedict, was summoned to the school to find her child badly beaten with bruises on their face and eyes and scratches on the back of their head. No ambulance was called, but school staff recommended that Nex visit a medical facility for an examination. Sue then took the 16-year-old to the Bailey Medical Center in Tulsa County for treatment, where they spoke to a police school resource officer before being discharged.

The next day, the teenager collapsed in their home and was pronounced dead in hospital, but police have since said they “did not die as a result of trauma”.

Sue shared that Nex has been bullied since 2023, the same year that Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt passed a law banning transgender students from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity. In light of the state’s increasing anti-LGBTQ+ climate, communities across the country are demanding further action be taken to end the culture of anti-LGBTQ+ harassment and protect trans youth from violence and discrimination.


If you have been affected by this story or are looking to reach out to someone for support, advice or just to talk, there are numerous services available for LGBTQ+ people, many of which offer instant messaging support:

LGBT Helpline
The Switchboard
Dublin Lesbian Line
Belong To
LGBTQI Pavee Point
Pieta House
Mental Health Ireland

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