Vigil held to honor non-binary teen

Corpus Christi residents stood in solidarity with the passing of two-spirit Dagny “Nex” Benedict at Unitarian Universalist Church located at 6901 Holly Rd on Feb 25. 16-year-old Benedict, who identified as non-binary, pronouns preferred they, them, was murdered after an altercation at Owasso High School, Oklahoma on Feb 7.

Nex’s mother, Sue, took them to the hospital after the altercation. On Feb 8 Nex took their last breath.

Volunteer for Nex’s vigil, Kelly Macias assisted with greeting and handing out programs, flags, as well as memorabilia of the event.

“I am a trans man. It’s important to be here especially for two-spirit Benedict … It’s a solemn event but it’s nice seeing the community,” said Macias.

Although this incident occurred outside of Texas, many residents who attended Benedict’s vigil felt the need for community outreach for those affected as well as those who identify outside the ‘norm’.

Christy Stockman, Edificial Officer of the Board of Trustees, felt the need to hold the vigil at the Unitarian church because, having a transgender son, James, she identifies with Sue Benedict and wondered “I could have been Sue Benedict.”

“My son is transgender. He graduated from Flour Bluff HS in 2019 … that area has a very far right-winged leadership … it’s the idea that the governor of Oklahoma, the day before this happened, signed executive orders basically erasing intersex babies from existence … they want to put things in pretty little boxes, to not be aware that nature is more complex … to not give people respect and dignity just for being who they are … All I could think of is ‘I could have been Sue Benedict’,” said Stockman.

President of The Pride of Corpus Christi, Jonathan Swindle, began Nex’s vigil by emphasizing the importance of allies and advocates within the transgender and non-binary community to speak out against bullying and to stand firm against intolerance.

“Our commitment here is to forge a future where acceptance and understanding aren’t aspirations but reality. We may not all have the same experience our paths converge in dignity and equality,” said Swindle.

A moment of silence was then held for those who attended following an introduction for each speaker.

One such speaker from the Coastal Bend Trans Alliance, Kitana Sanchez, spoke on the impact of what Nex’s death means to the non-binary and LGBTQ+ community.

“We are aware of the impact extremist and anti-LGBTQ+ community organizations have on our society by perpetuating a narrative where attacks of hate are permitted on trans students like Nex Benedict,” said Sanchez.

With a candle lighting ceremony and closing remarks, Swindle encouraged anyone to speak on behalf of Nex and their family as well as any final words.

General Council Secretary at Lipan Nde Tribe of Texas, Wally Ba’iitso Daatł’ish Azua, sang a song in memory of MMIWg2s, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, girls, and two-spirits called, “Remember ME.”

According to a GoFundMe page set up to help the family, Benedicts mother, Sue Benedict, stated, “We at this time are thankful for the ongoing support … We are sorry for not using their name correctly, as a parent we were still learning the correct forms … do not judge us as Nex was judged … do not bully us for our ignorance on the subject.”

You can find the GoFundMe page for Nex at .

If you know anyone in need of someone to talk to or needs immediate mental health support, call the Emergency Hotline at 361-215-8839. Pride Center’s counseling services and support groups services are free.

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