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Nex Benedict’s Queer Classmates Say the Biggest Bullies Are the Politicians

Started by Jessica_Rose, March 19, 2024, 03:28:05 PM

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*** Trigger Warning ***

Nex Benedict's Queer Classmates Say the Biggest Bullies Are the Politicians

Story by Sarah Baum (19 March 2024)

Before an Oklahoma medical examiner ruled the death of Nex Benedict, a 16-year-old trans trans student, a suicide; before his name was a trending hashtag; before Benedict collapsed in front of his mother and grandmother; and before high school bullies repeatedly bashed his head against the tile floor—the far right had already targeted the queer community in Benedict's hometown of Owasso, a midsize suburb outside of Tulsa.

Friends of Benedict and queer students from Owasso told me that in their town, in the heart of the Bible Belt, the biggest bullies aren't other kids; it's the state and national political leaders. So far in 2024, seven state legislatures have passed anti-trans bills. And of the more than 500 anti-trans bills that have been introduced or advanced during that time, Oklahoma produced 60 of them—or 11 percent of all anti-trans bills in the United States, including federal ones. This comes after the record-breaking transphobia of 2023, where 600 anti-trans bills were considered at the state and federal level, almost a third of which focused on schools. In total last year, 87 bills were passed.


  * Trans Lifeline: Provides peer support and crisis intervention for
    transgender and non-binary people. Call: 1-877-565-8860 or

  * The Trevor Project: Provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention
    services for LGBTQ+ youth. Call: 1-866-488-7386 or visit:

  * The Trevor Project's resources for parents and allies:

  * The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): Offers support and
    for people with mental health conditions, including LGBTQ+ individuals.

  * The Jed Foundation: Provides mental health resources and suicide prevention
    information for teens and young adults, including LGBTQ+ youth.

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