Too Many Suicides of Transgender Youth

A “nonbinary” sixteen- year-old walks into a girls’ bathroom in Oklahoma. Not just any bathroom, but that which this transgender student at Owasso High School student identifies with.  Dagny “Nex” Benedict, a “two-spirited” (LGBT) American Native, identifies as neither female or male and consequently uses the pronoun “they.”  Nex’s attire is different from the classmates who are “cisgender,” meaning that their identity corresponds to the sex that is on their birth certificate.

Nex throws water on the others who laugh at ” her.” The altercation escalates.  Nex pushes them against the bathroom wall where the paper towel dispenser is.  Then, three Freshmen jump Nex and “they” is being pummelled on the bathroom floor.  Nex reported later that they “blacked out.”  Why wasn’t an ambulance called?  Where was the school police?

With lacerations, bruises, and contusions, Nex, with a school escort named Sue Benedict, walked through the school.  Sue advises that Nex goes to the hospital. Later that day, Nex’s relatives took “they” to the hospital. The next day at 1 p.m., Benedict called an ambulance.  After the fight, the police was supposed to have been called earlier, but the Police Department said in a statement on February 20th that no police report had been made about the bathroom fight.

Nex goes home.  “They” later takes two prescriptions: an antihistamine diphenhydramine for her allergies and fluoxetine, a drug used to treat depression. Because Nex had been bullied all year from classmates, this transsexual was depressed.

The next day, Nex is rushed to the hospital.  She is dead upon arrival. She had committed suicide, according to an autopsy report released.  She had not directly died from trauma in the bathroom although her life in school seemed to be traumatic in itself.  Aren’t students supposed to receive an education in a safe environment?

Ryan Walters, Oklahoma State Superintendent for Education, told The New York Times that he doesn’t believe that transgender people exist, that there’s not multiple genders, only two, male or female, noted on their birth certificates. His state does not allow students to use preferred pronouns such as they.

The statistics refute this ignorant statement.  The Williams Institute at UCLA that studies LGBT+ policy says that nearly one in five people who identify as transgender are ages 13-17 and that they experience symptoms of gender dysphoria or distress that results from having their gender identity not match their sex assigned at birth.

Both at state and national levels, there were in 2024, 510 anti-LGBT L.G.B.T.Q. bills being considered to deny access to basic healthcare, legal recognition, education, bathrooms, athletics or the right to openly exist in public schools.

Nex’s home state of Oklahoma is not the only one in the United States that does not favor trans rights despite endorsements from The American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics for age-appropriate gender-affirming care for transgender and nonbinary people.

The gender-affirming care that is medically necessary for the well-being of over 300,000 who identify as transgender in the United States are shut out in states besides Oklahoma: Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. In Utah and Florida, these laws come with criminal penalties.

Vigils have been held in Washington and Oklahoma for Nex. National LGBTQ civil rights leaders have called for federal investigation into Nex’s death and Owasso’s school district by the Departments of Justice and Education.

Data from pubmed. indicate that 82% of transgender individuals have considered killing themselves and 40% have attempted suicide, with suicidality highest among transgender youth. Isn’t One death too many?

Sources: The New York Times, Mother Jones, Human Rights Campaign

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Wesley Cullen Davidson

Wesley Cullen Davidson is an award-winning freelance writer and journalist specializing in parenting as well as gay and lesbian content. For the past two years, Wesley has concentrated almost exclusively on the lesbian and gay community, specifically on advising straight parents of gay children on how to be better parents and raise happy, well-adjusted adults

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