Grieving Nex Benedict: the Brutal Killing of 16 year old Nonbinary Student in an Oklahoma High School

White teenager sitting in a restaurant holding chopsticks and showing the peace sign. Teen wears dark tee shirt and dark rimmed glasses. Teen has medium length  wavy brown hair. Nonbinary.
Source: WJKH

The Crime

Nex Benedict (they/them) was a 16-year-old nonbinary youth living in Oklahoma. They endured a reportedly vicious beating in a high school bathroom of Owasso High School, Nex died the next day in the hospital. They were a sophomore. This was February 7 and 8th. Last week, Nex was in high school. This week, they were buried.

According to KJRH

Three older girls were beating on the victim and her daughter in the girl’s bathroom.

“I know at one point, one of the girls was pretty much repeatedly beating their head across the floor,” she said.

That’s when she said a teacher walked in and broke it up.

“Nex couldn’t walk to the nurses’ station on their own, and staff didn’t call the ambulance, which amazes me,” she said.The woman told 2 News the victim’s grandmother, who they primarily lived with, brought them to the hospital after the fight. She said the victim was released that evening but was brought back the next day and died.

Local police are investigating, but have not issued a statement or identified the victim. There is also no confirmation may of the details – how many students were involved in the assault, how many victims, what was the sequence of events, what’s been Nex’s school experience. We don’t know that being nonbinary is what triggered the assault.

We do know that nonbinary identity is often a factor or predictor of vulnerability to bullying and abuse.

Honoring Nex

Nex was born on January 11, 2008, in El Paso, Texas. They grew up in Owasso, Oklahoma. Nex was a sophomore at Owasso High School. According to family, Nex identified as nonbinary and used they/them pronouns.

According to the obituary, Nex was a nature lover. They enjoyed caring for cats but particularly loved their cat, Zeus. Nex also enjoyed watching the Walking Dead, drawing, reading, and playing Ark and Minecraft. During the funeral, their family said they loved to cook and would often make up their own recipes. Nex was also a straight-A student.

I have not yet found any online presence for Nex.

Funeral Service were at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, February 15, 2024, at the Mowery Funeral Service Chapel in Owasso. You can read Nex obituary, but note that it refers to Nex using she/her pronouns

The Context

We also do not yet know the school’s policies, BUT it is fair to assume that they have a policy of some type that requires them to file incident reports around student violence. Furthermore, the decision to send a school based police officer to take the report at the hospital reinforces that conclusion. I expect any student experiencing that level of violence would stay with medical personnel until a family member picked them up or they were transported to the hospital. Those are basic liability issues, not unique to trans and queer students by any means.

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Tell me again how in-school resource officers are effective if they don’t respond to this level of vicious violence until they get a call after school hours? Not these particular officers, per se, but the whole concept. Who was protecting Nex?

These are not extreme policies. They are pretty common. But we can definitely expect that school personnel had an obligation to address the situation before Nex went home.

Nex’s sister-in-law created a GoFundMe to raise $15,000 for the funeral scheduled for February 15.

Also unclear is why this teacher who allegedly broke it up didn’t ensure appropriate medical care on-site OR notify the police. Or the school nurse. Maybe they did? The ways that this situation deteriorated once the school was aware are endless.

Owasso Public Schools released the following statement regarding the student’s death:

“The Owasso Police Department has notified district leaders of the death of an Owasso High School student. The student’s name and cause of death have not yet been made public. As this is an active police investigation, we will have no additional comment at this time. Further inquiries should be directed to the Owasso Police Department.”

“The district will have additional counselors at the school to provide
support to students and staff beginning on Friday.”

Owasso Public Schools

How is that not national news? A 16 year old beaten to death in a public school bathroom? By other students. All these unanswered seemingly obvious questions about what transpired, and how the adults involved acted. That should be every headline.

In fact, almost every local outlet covering the story misgender and deadnames Nex, using their same assigned at birth. The indignities pile on.

We don’t yet know if Nex’s nonbinary identity is directly tied to this incident. But, my God, it sure matters to me that this would happen to any child. A nonbinary kid assaulted in a girl’s bathroom. That outcome from the narrative of anti-trans rhetoric these past years.

Still why wasn’t this story breaking news? It involves a nonbinary student in a public school. And school violence and school police resource officers. It involves the deep fear so many trans youth have shared with me about their schools.

But false reports that the now dead shooter who invaded Joel Olsteen’s megachurch was transgender have consumed the headlines. That shooter was killed by police. Her 5 year old son was injured in the shooting. No other fatalities reported. Her identity as a cisgender woman has been clarified repeatedly, but that hasn’t stopped the false narrative.

That woman went into a church with an assault weapon and her young child. That’s horrible and newsworthy on its own. Still, the headlines fixate on the allegation she was a trans person. She was not a trans person, but the headlines stay fixated. The juxtaposition is jarring, but not new.

The shooting took place on February 11. Nex died on February 8.

Where are the these people when it comes to demanding truth about Nex’s death? Where is the outrage that any child has this experience? Who the hell is protecting other kids in that school from this outcome?

Does the media really prefer to spread misinformation about the trans community and turn a blind eye to trans victims of violence? Of course they do.

Rest in power, Nex. You endured a lot in your short life. We repeatedly did not show up for you. But you deserved better – a long, healthy, and happy life. The opportunity to simply grow up. An education setting where you didn’t fear for your life. And you deserve to be acknowledged and validated for your true identity, in your own words. I can’t imagine your terror during this assault and afterwards as your life drained away. I hope you find peace and justice now.

May your memory be a revolution.

Update – this post has been undated to correct a misspelling of Nex’s name and a reference to their name assigned at birth. One was simply a typo, but the other was inaccurate and I very much regret the harm that caused.

This is our list

This is our list of transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming neighbors who have been victims of the campaign of terror in 2024. Please do not copy, modify, or share this list without attribution.

  1. Kitty Monroe – January 1, 2024. Phoenix, Arizona. Age 43.
  2. Nex Benedict – February 8, 2024. Owasso, Oklahoma. Age 16.
Trans deaths


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