Loss is all too common an experience in our 2SLGBTQIA+ communities. 

This past week, as all of us have grappled with the heartbreaking news out of Oklahoma, we are once again asked to sit in that shared grief.

We lift up the statement from our friends at Freedom Oklahoma; and echo their words: Nex Benedict should still be alive today.

Our LGBTQ+ youth deserve nothing less than our full support, affirmation, and celebration of who they are. And all youth deserve to be safe and free from bullying in their schools, homes, and communities.

Bullying and violence against LGBTQ+ communities is pervasive and it has harms that are both immediate and long-lasting. And there is a direct connection between acts of violence against members of our communities and the dehumanizing anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and legislation that is actively being fostered by those who seek to push us back out of public life.

We must all work together to support LGBTQ+ community in our state and beyond.

OutFront Minnesota has worked tirelessly to address bullying in schools and we continue to take calls every week addressing discrimination, bullying, and acts of violence here in the state. We are here to help and to keep working to ensure that all students feel safe, welcomed, and supported in schools across Minnesota.

We also want to take a moment to acknowledge how horrific events like these ripple throughout our communities. The public attention to these stories, and particularly narratives that center on acts of violence, can bring up trauma or heighten concerns about safety for ourselves and those around us.

We encourage everyone to care for themselves as part of that process, to check in with friends, family, and loved ones - and to ensure that youth in particular have space for support around these difficult moments.

For those seeking support, you can speak with a trained advocate in our Anti-Violence Program at 612.822.0127 ext 3 or reach out by email at avp@outfront.org. The helpline is answered Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

You can also reach out to:
Trans Lifeline | 877.565.8860
The Trevor Project | 1.866.488.7386
NAMI | 800.950.6264

Just as our communities have honored and celebrated Savannah Ryan Williams and Robert Skafte not for how they were lost but for who they were in life; we hope that even in the midst of all of this we make space to remember Nex as “a straight-A student, a Minecraft fan, and animal lover,” as “unfailingly kind” and a lover of “rocking out to music,” as a “light to keep shining for everyone.” 

May we hold and honor that light - through our care for one another and our commitment to the work to build a world where we can all live fully and authentically.