Nex Benedict

AWN Statement on Nex Benedict

The Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network and the undersigned organizations and individuals condemn the murder of yet another transgender or gender expansive person, 16-year-old Nex Benedict, who died after other students assaulted them in a school bathroom and targeted them for systemic bullying within the school for over a year. Nex, a Choctaw student from Owasso, Oklahoma, identified as nonbinary or genderfluid and used both he/him and they/them pronouns. He was a straight-A student, a talented artist, and a good friend. School administrators forced Nex to use the girls bathroom after passage of Oklahoma Senate Bill 615. He was the target of systemic, unresolved, and ultimately deadly bullying that began in the months immediately following the bill’s passage.

Oklahoma Senate Bill 615 is a “bathroom ban” bill. It states that public and charter school students in the state of Oklahoma must use the bathroom which corresponds to their “sex,” which the bill defines as “the physical condition of being male or female based on genetics and physiology, as identified on the individual’s original birth certificate.” All multi-stall bathrooms and changing rooms are forced to become “sex”-specific, under risk of financial penalty for the school. Students who are not comfortable using the bathroom which corresponds with their sex as assigned at birth have two options: use whatever single stall bathroom the school has, no matter how inconvenient for classes, outing themselves by doing so, or not using school bathrooms at all.

This is not acceptable.

This January, the Oklahoma Education Department appointed Chaya Raichik, the creator of the anti-trans hate platform “Libs of TikTok,” to an advisory council overseeing Oklahoma school libraries despite not even living in the state. The Institute for Strategic Dialogue identified Raichik’s “Libs of TikTok” platform as “one of the largest sources of anti-drag content online.” Raichik’s influence on anti-LGBTQ+ hate is so great that she earned a column in the report dedicated solely to her efforts, requiring more space than even the white nationalist Proud Boys group. At the time of Raichik’s appointment to the Oklahoma Library Media Advisory Committee, at least eleven schools had received bomb threats in connection with her posts on “Libs of TikTok.”  Raichik consistently promotes hate speech and encourages anti-LGBTQ+ violence. Oklahoma Education Department superintendent Ryan Walters explicitly appointed Raichik to the advisory committee “to rid schools of liberal, woke values.

This is not acceptable.

The Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network condemns hate. We condemn the death of Nex Benedict, a child who “had a light in them that was so big, they had so many dreams.” We condemn Oklahoma Senate Bill 615 and all anti-transgender legislation, recognizing it for what it actually is: purposely harmful and potentially deadly.

This is not a statement that we should have had to write. We fear that it is one we will have to repeat as anti-trans hate and legislative attacks escalate nationwide.

We call on legislators, school officials, police, and all those in authority to join us in condemning hateful legislation and anti-trans violence. It is past time to pass critical civil rights protections with robust enforcement mechanisms against discrimination on the basis of sexuality, gender identity, and gender expression. Such measures will not eliminate all anti-trans hate but they will help protect trans people of all ages now as we work to build a future where all people can live authentically and safely in their communities. 


Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network

Autistic People of Color Fund

Art by Veya

Black Political Cultivation AZ

Black Phoenix Organizing Collective


Network of Women with Disabilities NOW

U.S. Gender and Disability Justice Alliance

Este Amané, Organizer

Ollie Henry

Oluwatobi Maeyen Odugunwa

Gayle McCabe

Patrick McCabe

Dr. Janie Mejias

Chris Peterman

Maddie R., AuDHD & Trans-Nonbinary Advocate

Karen Rosenthal

Katya Siddall-Cipolla, CEO, Hopper Health