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Torres calls for federal investigation into Nex Benedict's death

Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) on Thursday called for a federal investigation into the recent death of a nonbinary Oklahoma high school student.

Torres joined calls by the Human Rights Campaign to investigate the death of Nex Benedict, a high school sophomore in Owasso, Okla., who died on Feb. 8, a day after a physical altercation in a girls bathroom at school.

“Nex Benedict’s death is a horrific tragedy and cannot be allowed to go overlooked. I stand by @HRC in calling for a federal investigation into what happened,” said Torres, who is openly gay, in a Thursday post on X, formerly known as Twitter. 

“I fear a dangerous climate of right-wing anti-LQBTQ+ rhetoric played a role in the unjust end to a young promising life,” he continued.

Torres’s post was responding to an article from The Advocate, an LGBTQ-focused magazine. The article was about Human Rights Campaign (HRC) president Kelley Robinson’s request for a federal investigation into Benedict’s death. Robinson wrote letters dated Wednesday to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona on the issue.

“Their death is a gut-wrenching tragedy that exposes the chilling reality of anti-transgender hatred spreading across the United States, and must be investigated by the Department as a potential hate crime,” Robinson’s letter to Garland reads.

Sue Benedict, Nex’s grandmother and legal guardian, said Nex Benedict faced bullying at school for being nonbinary since early last year. Some have seen connections between the bullying and laws passed in Oklahoma aimed at LGBTQ people.

Vice President Harris said in a Thursday post on X that her “heart goes out to Nex Benedict’s family, friends, and their entire community.”

“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,” Harris continued.

Source: The Hill

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