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Oklahoma's Superintendent Faces Backlash Over Ties to Anti-Trans Influencer...

Started by Jessica_Rose, March 04, 2024, 06:14:47 AM

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Oklahoma's Superintendent Faces Backlash Over Ties to Anti-Trans Influencer After Tragic Teen Death

Story by Emma Taylor (4 March 2024)

In the wake of the tragic death of Nex Benedict, a transgender teen who was bullied and assaulted at an Oklahoma high school, Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters is facing intense scrutiny over his connections to controversial figures known for their anti-trans rhetoric. Walters' association with Ron "The Real Ron Ron" Causby, an anti-trans influencer who once incited violence against trans students, has sparked outrage, especially after reports of Benedict being involved in a fight in a school bathroom just a day prior to his death.

At the center of the controversy is a 2022 fundraising event that Walters attended at Causby's residence, which was promoted with references to the platform Causby used for spreading harmful statements. This revelation has led critics to argue that Walters' engagement with figures such as Causby has contributed to an unsafe and unwelcoming environment for LGBTQ+ students like Benedict.

The outcry has been further amplified by an open letter signed by more than 350 LGBTQ+ organizations, activists, and celebrities calling for Walters' removal and an investigation into the state's Department of Education policies. The letter claims a failure to protect LGBTQ+ students from harassment and bullying, pointing to the climate of hostility towards this community in Oklahoma.
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