Nex Benedict’s Death Sparks Nationwide Anti-Bullying Campaign

Nex Benedict’s Death Sparks Nationwide Anti-Bullying Campaign

The death of a nonbinary 16-year old, Nex Benedict, after an altercation with other students from their Oklahoma school has sparked a nationwide campaign against anti-LGBTQ bullying. 

According to ABC News, Vice President Kamala Harris was one of the most recent political figures to speak out on the student’s death saying “My heart goes out to Nex Benedict’s family, friends, and their entire community.” 

“To the LGBTQI+ youth who are hurting and are afraid right now: President Joe Biden and I see you, we stand with you, and you are not alone.” 

The tragedy was also addressed by the White House’s first openly gay press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre. “I know that for many LGBTQ+ students across the country, this may feel personal and deeply, deeply painful. There’s always someone you can talk to if you’re going through a hard time and need support,” Jean-Pierre said.

Benedict, who used they/them pronouns, was involved in a “physical altercation” as described by law enforcement at Owasso High School in Oklahoma on Feb. 7. The fight was brought on after three girls from Benedict’s school began teasing them about what they and their friends wore. According to Benedict’s account of the encounter, the bullying continued in the bathroom where the three girls came at them and began beating them until they “blacked out.”

However, law enforcement have claimed that Nex’s death did not result from physical trauma endured in the altercation. Police security footage from after the attack showed Benedict awake and reclining on a bed as they recounted what happened to them. 

Though it remains unclear how Nex died, BBC reports a police statement said medics were sent to the Benedict home for a medical emergency the day following the fight. In a police call, Benedict’s mother told the dispatcher Nex’s breathing was shallow and their eyes were rolling back. 

The family’s attorney described Benedict’s death as “the devastating effects of bullying and school violence,” in a statement to NBC News. 

News of the death has spread rapidly throughout the country with many LGBTQ+ activist voicing their outrage at the hate-fueled incident. Two vigils were held in Benedict’s honor on Friday night, and dozens more occurred on Monday throughout the country, according to BBC. Calls to end anti-LGBTQ violence and bullying are trending on social media and from activists, political figures, and celebrities alike.

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