Human Rights Campaign Responds to Partial Release of Medical Examiner's Report on Death of Nex Benedict

WASHINGTON - March 13, 2024 - Kelley Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign, released the following statement in response to a partial release of the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's report into the death of 16 year-old non-binary student Nex Benedict, indicating they died by suicide:

"As parents, we send our kids to school expecting that they will be safe and cared for. Nex was failed by so many and should still be here today. We hold their family in our hearts as they grapple with the devastating reality that their beloved child, a teen with a bright future, is no longer making this world a brighter place.

Nex died one day after being beaten unconscious in a school bathroom, and following more than a year of bullying and harassment at school. This is heartbreaking. And we have heard from so many parents and students that this culture of bullying and harassment is both pervasive at Owasso Public Schools and that many within the school had actual knowledge that it was occurring and took no steps to fix it.

We reiterate our call for a full and complete investigation. Young people in Oklahoma and across the country deserve to be safe and respected at school."

Recent reporting from the Washington Post shows that in states with laws that target LGBTQ+ youth, hate crimes against those youth quadruple - illustrating that anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric in the statehouse does not stop at those doors, but in fact has real and measurable consequences in the schoolhouse.

More Background Information:

2022 HRC LGBTQ+ Youth Survey - LGBTQ+ Youth ages 13-18

Trevor Project 2022 - LGBTQ+ youth age 13-24

YRBS 2021 - all high school aged youth

NOTE FOR REPORTERS: This second edition of Talking About Suicide & LGBT Populations, a report made in coalition with many national health care, mental health, and LGTBQ+ groups, "provides facts about suicide and LGBT people, as well as ways to talk about suicide safely and accurately-and in ways that advance vital public discussions about preventing suicide among LGBT people and supporting their health and well-being."

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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