April 22, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

LGBTQ+ Advocates React to Release of Full Nex Benedict Autopsy Report

Organizations Demand Justice and Systemic Change

The full autopsy report on the death of Nex Benedict has been released by the Oklahoma Medical Examiner. Several LGTBQ+ organizations have reacted to the conclusion of the pathologist who conducted the autopsy that Nex Benedict died of suicide. 

Nicole McAfree, The Executive Director of Freedom Oklahoma, said, “As our community continues to grieve and remember Nex, it’s clearer than ever that everyone from Oklahoma’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters to Owasso High School staff members to the Owasso Police Department, Tulsa District Attorney, and unaccredited-since-2009 state medical examiner’s office failed to deliver justice for Nex Benedict and Nex’s loved ones. A harm doubled by the continued lack of respect for the tribal law enforcement who should be involved in a case that involves the death of an Indigenous person on reservation land. As we approach the end of the Oklahoma legislative session, lawmakers should take the opportunity to send a message of adamant opposition to anti-2SLGBTQ+ legislation and policies and support for measures that enable more empathy, kindness, and compassion, not less. Nex should be alive, and the very least we can do in Nex’s memory is demonstrate our commitment to building a better world that makes it impossible for this heartbreaking tragedy to happen again.”

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said, “This report cannot be seen as a conclusion of the investigation into the death of a teenager who should still be here today. Oklahoma’s supposed leaders must still provide answers to the public about the state-sponsored bullying by legislation, the inadequate response to violence in a school bathroom, and all the failures to keep Nex safe that continue to endanger LGBTQ and 2STGNC+ people in Oklahoma. GLAAD continues to call for an independent investigation to resolve the systemic failures that led to Nex’s death. Our hearts remain with Nex’s family, with Oklahoma’s incredible 2STGNC+ and equality advocates, and all LGBTQ youth who deserve to grow up in peace and safety.”

A statement from The Trans Advocacy Coalition of Oklahoma said,” We continue to grieve and mourn the loss of our community member Nex Benedict, a transmasculine and nonbinary youth of Choctaw descent, whose life was needlessly cut short. The fact remains that Nex was failed by systems, institutions, and people who should have provided love and support to show Nex that his life matters and he was not alone. A culture of bullying, harassment, and discrimination is pervasive in Oklahoma and has especially detrimental effects on members of vulnerable communities, including LGBTQ and Indigenous youth like Nex. The hostile environment and culture that Oklahomans face every day is sanctioned by institutions like the Oklahoma Department of Education that refuse to take tangible steps to make a change and show a commitment to the value of these students’ identities and lives. We can and must do better.”

Kylan L. Durant, The Oklahoma Pride Alliance President, released a statement that said, “Today’s news is the latest disappointing development in Nex Benedict’s tragic story. The best way to honor Nex’s memory now is by taking tangible steps to secure meaningful policies and platforms that make life better for all LGBTQ and 2STGNC+ youth. All Oklahomans deserve to live in a world that treats us with full dignity and respect and where we can access spaces that allow us to live as our honest, authentic selves. We will never stop advocating for equality and justice in honor of Nex and too many others who left us too soon.”

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