Non-binary teenager dies after alleged attack in school bathroom

16-year-old Nex Benedict passed away on February 8, with the circumstances surrounding their death being investigated by police.

An image of Nex Benedict, a non-binary teenager who died after being allegedly attacked in a school bathroom. They are photographed from the shoulders up wearing a white shirt and grey waistcoat. They look and smile at the camera.
Image: @iamn0tthe1 via X

Content warning: Mentions of physical violence and transphobia

A non-binary teenager has died after allegedly being attacked in a high school bathroom in the US state of Oklahoma. 16-year-old Nex Benedict was reportedly assaulted on February 7 and passed away in hospital a day later.

The teenager’s adoptive mother and biological grandmother Sue Benedict told The Independent that Nex had been bullied since 2023. She was summoned to Owasso High School following this recent incident earlier this month to find Nex badly beaten with bruises on their face and eyes and scratches on the back of their head. Nex reportedly told Sue that they and another transgender student had been in a fight with three older female pupils in the girls’ bathroom, when they were knocked to the ground and hit their head.

Sue then took them to the Bailey Medical Center in Tulsa County for treatment, where they spoke to a police school resource officer before being discharged. The following day, Nex collapsed in the family living room and was rushed back to hospital, where they were later declared dead.

According to a release from the Owasso Police Department, “It is not known at this time if this latest medical incident is related to the previous incident or not.”

The statement confirmed that “a thorough investigation is being conducted” and “at this time no further information is being released”.

Speaking separately to The Independent, a spokesperson for the police department, Nick Boatman, said that authorities are awaiting the results of toxicology and autopsy reports before determining whether anyone will be charged. Detectives are also said to be interviewing school staff and students and will be submitting their investigation to the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution review.

The news of the non-binary teenager being allegedly attacked comes after Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt passed a law in 2023 banning trans students from using the school bathroom that matches their gender identity. Many are also linking the incident to the increase in anti-trans content on social media, particularly from Chaya Raichik’s Libs of TikTok account which previously targeted a teacher at the Oklahoma school who was supportive of LGBTQ+ rights. 

In a statement published on its website, LGBTQ+ advocacy group Freedom Oklahoma said, “While we continue to piece together the full story, we wanted to reach out to our community grappling with this horrific harm, and the grief we all share as we reflect on the growing anti-2SLGBTQ+ sentiments our youngest community members are facing more often, fueled by state law and the rhetoric around it, words and actions of our state elected officials, and the growing platforms those in power are giving to people like Chaya Raichik who continues to use her platform in a way that leads others to threaten real harm at Oklahoma kids.”

The group added, “Nex should still be alive. Nex deserved not only a safe and nurturing environment to learn, but an environment that actively disrupted anti-2STGNC+ rhetoric and worked to ensure that vulnerable students were safe. Owasso schools failed to create that environment for Nex. And we know that is the story for too many kids across our state.”


Speaking about Nex’s gender identity, Sue Benedict’s husband Walter said, “When you’re old school, you don’t always understand it…But it would be very boring if we were all the same. It’s on the inside that matters the most.”

Sue added, “So many people push kids to be one thing, and you’ve got to let them find themselves and be who they should be…Society has got to see them as they are. Accept them and go on, because we are all people.”

She stated: “I was so proud of Nex. They were going some place, they were so free.”

Nex Benedict’s family has set up a fundraiser to help with funeral expenses; donations can be made here. It should be noted that the site uses Nex’s dead name and incorrect pronouns, which their family has since apologised for.

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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