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Non-binary US student dies after altercation in school toilets

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A 16-year-old non-binary student died after an altercation in a school bathroom where they were mocked by their peers, an interview taken after the incident shows.

Nex Benedict, who uses the pronouns “they” and “them”, died on Feb 8, the day after they were involved in a fight with other students.

The incident, in Owasso, Oklahoma, has drawn national attention from LGBTQ rights groups, which say that the teenager’s death is an example of the danger that non-binary young people face on a daily basis.

Police bodycam footage released on Friday shows an interview with Benedict at a local hospital after the incident.

They said they “blacked out” on the floor after being beaten by other students at Owasso High School, who had been mocking them in the bathroom.

Nex Benedict on police bodycam footage being interviewed after the incident in Owasso, Oklahoma

“I went up there and I poured water on them, and then all three of them came at me,” the teenager said.

“They grabbed onto my hair. I grabbed onto them. I threw one of them into a paper towel dispenser, then they got my legs out from under me and got me on the ground.

“My friends tried to jump in and help, but I’m not sure, I blacked out.”

Months of bullying

Benedict’s family has said they endured months of bullying from other students at the school.

Owasso police department also released CCTV footage from inside the school, showing Benedict entering the bathroom and walking through a hallway with a member of school staff after the incident took place.

Later, an emergency call made by the student’s grandmother, Sue Benedict, shows she asked for medical help because they were complaining of a headache.

Despite the apparent head injury, the police department has said Benedict did not die “as a result of trauma” and that their cause of death has not yet been explained.

The state medical examiner’s office said an autopsy and toxicology report would be published when it is complete.

Campaigners have said that state laws restricting non-binary people from choosing which bathroom to use, and narrowly defining “male” and “female” have created a toxic environment for young people with different gender identities.


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