Nex Benedict's death ruled a suicide amid calls for accountability

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma - The death of Two-Spirit, non-binary Oklahoma teen Nex Benedict has been ruled a suicide, renewing demands for protections for LGBTQ+ youth.

People attend a candlelight vigil in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for 16-year-old non-binary student Nex Benedict, whose death has been ruled a suicide.
People attend a candlelight vigil in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for 16-year-old non-binary student Nex Benedict, whose death has been ruled a suicide.  © J Pat Carter / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

The state medical examiner's office on Wednesday revealed in a summary autopsy report that Benedict died on February 8 after ingesting a lethal amount of antihistamines and antidepressants. A full report is slated for release on March 27.

The 16-year-old collapsed at their home one day after being badly beaten by three female students in an Owasso High School girls bathroom.

Sue Benedict, the sophomore's grandmother and guardian, told The Independent last month that the non-binary teen had suffered bullying since the start of the 2023 school year – shortly after Republican Governor Kevin Stitt signed legislation barring trans students from using restrooms corresponding to their gender identity.

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The medical examiner's ruling came as no surprise to local police.

"From the beginning of this investigation, Owasso Police observed many indications that this death was the result of suicide. However, investigators did not wish to confirm that information without the final results being presented by the Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office," the department said in a statement.

Justice for Nex Benedict and LGBTQ+ youth

Benedict's death has triggered demands for justice and accountability, including the removal of Oklahoma's transphobic Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters.

The school district is also facing a US Department of Education investigation to determine whether it responded appropriately to "sex-based harassment."

The tragic incident has sparked growing fears for the safety of LGBTQ+ youth amid a barrage of rightwing attacks on basic human rights.

If you or someone you know needs help, please contact the 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Hotline by calling or texting 988 for free and confidential support. You can also text "HOME" to 741741 anytime for the Crisis Text Line and access to live, trained crisis counselors.

Cover photo: J Pat Carter / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

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