“Heartbroken”: President Biden Issues Statement on the Death of Nex Benedict

Note: This article contains discussion of suicide and anti-transgender violence.

President Joe Biden has issued a statement on the death of trans teenager Nex Benedict, saying that he and First Lady Jill Biden are “heartbroken” by the loss.

“Every young person deserves to have the fundamental right and freedom to be who they are, and feel safe and supported at school and in their communities,” Biden wrote in a statement released by the White House House on Thursday afternoon. “Nex Benedict, a kid who just wanted to be accepted, should still be here with us today.”

The president did not specifically reference the recent nationwide wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and policies, instead expressing general support for efforts to “end discrimination and address the suicide crisis impacting too many nonbinary and transgender children.”

Benedict died after reportedly collapsing at home on February 8, one day after an altercation with three older girls in a bathroom at Owasso High School. Benedict’s mother, Sue, recounted a history of bullying at the school, telling police that the girls called Nex names and threw objects at him.

On Wednesday, the Oklahoma medical examiner’s office released an early summary of a forthcoming toxicology report, ruling Benedict died by suicide due to the “combined toxicity” of fluoxetine and diphenhydramine, the drugs found in Prozac and Benadryl. Given the lack of information in the summary and the altercation that preceded Benedict’s death, LGBTQ+ lawmakers and advocacy groups have continued to call for a more comprehensive investigation into the matter.

“Bullying is hurtful and cruel, and no one should face the bullying that Nex did,” Biden said. “Parents and schools must take reports of bullying seriously.”

Previously, Vice President Kamala Harris issued a statement about the teen’s death on X, writing, “To the LGBTQI+ youth who are hurting and are afraid right now: President Joe Biden and I see you, we stand with you, and you are not alone.”

“My prayers are with Nex’s family, friends, and all who loved them – and to all LGBTQI+ Americans for whom this tragedy feels so personal, know this: I will always have your back,” Biden’s statement concluded.

If you are in crisis, please call, text, or chat with the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988, or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

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