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Community searching for answers after nonbinary teen Nex Benedict dies following fight at school

Nonbinary teen Nex Benedict dies after fight
Questions remain following death of nonbinary teen Nex Benedict 02:14

From rallies in New York City and Los Angeles to walkouts in Oklahoma, members of the LGBTQ+ community have shown their support for Nex Benedict, a 16-year-old nonbinary student who died earlier this month after a fight at their Owasso, Oklahoma school.

"It's been really tough to lose someone that I cared about and to see all of this hate manifesting into something so powerful," said Robin Ingersoll, a student at Benedict's school.

The fight took place in the girl's bathroom. Owasso police released videos showing everyone walking out on their own. A preliminary autopsy report said Benedict did not die of injuries from the fight.   

A school nurse sent Benedict to the hospital, where police bodycam video showed them sitting next to their grandmother. Benedict told the officers the girls were harassing them, and they responded by throwing water at the girls, prompting a three-on-one fight.

"Okay. So, so they just up and decided to just start messing with you?" one of the officers is heard asking in the video.

"Yeah, because of the way that we dress," Benedict responds.

The harassment is familiar to members of the LGBTQ+ community like Alex DeRoin.

"What happened on that individual level is an individual situation that happens because of a systematic problem," DeRoin said.

DeRoin puts some of the blame on Oklahoma leaders who have pushed anti-LGBTQ+ laws in the state, such as state superintendent of public education Ryan Walters. He has been accused of enacting policies that limit transgender students.

"I'm going to completely reject the notion that common sense policies — that there's two genders, that there shouldn't be gender ideology pushed in schools — has any connection whatsoever to students feeling safe," Walters told CBS News.

Police, meanwhile, are waiting on the autopsy and toxicology reports to determine Benedict's cause of death. Community members are also waiting to see if the district attorney will file charges related to the fight.

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