Biden issues statement on death of LGBTQ teen Nex Benedict drawing attention to suicide crisis

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President Joe Biden issued a connection connected nan decease of transgender Oklahoma teen Nex Benedict, whose Feb. 8 death, which occurred a time aft a conflict astatine Owasso High School, was ruled a termination Wednesday.

“Jill and I are heartbroken by nan caller nonaccomplishment of Nex Benedict,” Biden said successful a connection Thursday. “Every young personification deserves to person nan basal correct and state to beryllium who they are, and consciousness safe and supported astatine schoolhouse and successful their communities. Nex Benedict, a kid who conscionable wanted to beryllium accepted, should still beryllium present pinch america today.”

In representation of Nex, Biden said, “we must each recommit to our activity to extremity favoritism and reside nan termination situation impacting excessively galore nonbinary and transgender children.” 

“Bullying is hurtful and cruel, and nary 1 should look nan bullying that Nex did,” Biden said. “Parents and schools must return reports of bullying seriously. My prayers are pinch Nex’s family, friends, and each who loved them — and to each LGBTQI+ Americans for whom this calamity feels truthful personal, cognize this: I will ever person your back.” 

The president closed his connection by telling LGBTQ younker that they tin telephone aliases matter 988, nan National Crisis Hotline, and dial nan number “3” to talk to a counsellor who has been specifically trained to support LGBTQ youth. 

Nex, who was transgender and utilized he and they pronouns, according to friends and family,  was progressive successful a conflict astatine Owasso High School’s West Campus connected Feb. 7. Nex told constabulary 3 students “jumped” him aft he threw h2o connected them because they were bullying him and his friend for nan measurement they dressed. Sue Benedict, Nex’s mother, told nan Independent that Nex had antecedently told her he was bullied owed to his gender identity. 

On Feb. 8, Sue Benedict called 911 and told nan usability that Nex’s hands were posturing, which refers to an involuntary activity that tin bespeak abnormal encephalon activity, according to audio of nan 911 call that nan Owasso Police Department released past month. She besides said nan teen’s eyes were rolled successful nan backmost of his caput and his breathing was shallow, and she worried that he had a encephalon wounded from nan conflict astatine school. Nex was transported to St. Francis Children’s Hospital and pronounced dead.

The Oklahoma aesculapian examiner’s agency released a summary study Wednesday that recovered Nex died by suicide, pinch a probable origin of decease from nan “combined toxicity” of 2 drugs, 1 of which is disposable complete nan antagonistic and nan different by prescription. The afloat study will beryllium released March 27, according to nan aesculapian examiner’s office.

Lt. Nick Boatman, a spokesperson for nan Owasso Police Department, said successful an email Thursday that nan department’s investigation won’t beryllium concluded until investigators coming their findings to nan Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office. The territory lawyer will past find what charges, if any, could beryllium revenge against different students progressive successful nan conflict pinch Nex.

LGBTQ younker look a disproportionate consequence of suicide, according to research. A 2022 study of astir 28,000 LGBTQ young people conducted by The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ younker termination prevention and situation involution organization, recovered that much than 40% of respondents ages 13-24 said they earnestly considered attempting termination successful nan erstwhile year, including half of trans and nonbinary respondents.

Those rates were higher for respondents successful Oklahoma, pinch 48%, saying they earnestly considered termination successful nan past year, including 55% of trans and nonbinary youth. Of respondents successful Oklahoma, 16% said they attempted termination successful nan past year, including 20% of trans and nonbinary youth. 

The Department of Education opened a national investigation into Owasso Public Schools earlier this period for allegedly failing to reside erstwhile complaints of favoritism from students. The investigation was opened pursuing a title from nan Human Rights Campaign, nan country’s largest LGBTQ authorities group.

If you aliases personification you cognize is successful crisis, call or text 988 to scope nan Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or chat unrecorded at 988lifeline.org. You tin besides visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional support.

If you are an LGBTQ young personification successful crisis, emotion suicidal aliases successful request of a safe and judgment-free spot to talk, telephone nan TrevorLifeline now astatine 1-866-488-7386 aliases nan Rainbow Youth Project astatine 1-317-643-4888.

Jo Yurcaba

Jo Yurcaba is simply a newsman for NBC Out.