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USA Prides Mourns Death of Nex Benedict, Calls for Solidarity in Face of Other Anti-Trans Attacks

The U.S. Association of Prides (USA Prides), the premier association supporting and enabling LGBTQ Pride organizations in the United States, is mourning following tragic news of the death of Nex Benedict, a 16-year-old, indigenous non-binary student who died on Feb. 8, the day after reportedly being beaten by classmates in the bathroom of their high school in Owasso, Oklahoma.



According to news reports, Nex had faced months of bullying from other students — which ramped up after Oklahoma passed a new law banning trans and gender-nonconforming students from using restrooms corresponding with their gender identity. Nex also attended the same school where an LGBTQ-affirming teacher was harassed out of their job following widespread online attacks and threats prompted by the leader of a far-right activist group. This hateful rhetoric drives division that we knew would ultimately lead to the unspeakable. 


Our hearts break for Nex and for Nex’s family, and we shudder knowing how much fear is being instilled in the minds and spirits of trans, non-binary and gender-nonconforming youth across the country. 


USA Prides urges law enforcement and school authorities to swiftly and properly investigate Nex’s death. We also call on local, state, and the national government to put a stop to the increasing threats and legislative attacks against LGBTQ people — especially queer or questioning youth. Our education system should be a place of growth, safety, and acceptance for our differences. We encourage community members to contact their local, state, and national government officials and advocate for safer, more inclusive schools and LGBTQ-inclusive policies. You can easily use ResistBot to text and write your elected officials.


Spreading queer joy through our Pride events is an act of resistance. USA Prides urges all of our members and Pride organizations across the country to stand in solidarity with their local trans, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming communities and to continue their work in offering supportive, safe and affirming spaces for all. 


Pride organizers can take action by:

  • Connecting with and supporting trans-led organizations in their local communities

  • Amplifying the voices of trans activists and trans-led organizations

  • Encouraging the full participation of transgender, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming leaders, especially youth, in their organizations

  • Educating community members on how they can contact their government officials and advocate for LGBTQ-inclusive policy change


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About USA Prides:

USA Prides works to empower LGBTQ+ Pride organizations in the United States and its territories through collaboration, networking, resource-sharing, and education. Founded in October 2018, USA Prides works to develop a national identity of Pride and promote public education and awareness of the personal rights and civil liberties of LGBTQ+ individuals.


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