We mourn the death of Nex Benedict, a 16-year-old non-binary student in Owasso, Oklahoma, who was attacked by classmates in a bathroom at their high school on February 7. School officials did not report the assault to local law enforcement or emergency services, and Nex died the following day.

“Nex had a light in them that was so big, they had so many dreams,” their mother said. “I want their light to keep shining for everyone. That light was so big and bright and beautiful, and I want everyone to remember Nex that way.”

We give thanks for the life of Nex Benedict, a powerful witness to the beautiful diversity of God’s creation. We decry the ways ignorance, hate and political rhetoric are causing young people like Nex to face bullying, harassment and violence for attending school or attempting to use the bathroom. We continue to pray and work for a safer world where all children of God are valued and protected.