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Republican Senator's Anti-LGBTQ Comments Spark Outrage After Non-Binary Teen's Tragic Death in Oklahoma

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Source: Oklahoma Senate

Feb. 25 2024, Published 5:00 p.m. ET

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Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Woods, 28, made disparaging remarks about the LGBTQ+ community, calling them "filth" and asserting that his constituents would fight to keep them out of Oklahoma just days after a non-binary teen died as a result of bullying in his state, has learned.

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Source: X/Twitter

16-year-old Nex Benedict died after a violent attack at school.

The senator's offensive comments came in response to a question raised by audience member Cathy Cott during a town hall, who highlighted the tragic case of Nex Benedict, a 16-year-old non-binary teen who tragically lost their life after a violent attack by fellow students at their high school.

Benedict's death had sparked concerns about LGBTQ+ rights and protections in the state.

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Elias and Jack died in a motorcycle accident in Thailand.

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An audio clip of Senator Wood's bigoted remarks was published by the Tahlequah Daily Press.

The elected official said, "We are a religious state and we are going to fight it to keep that filth out of the state of Oklahoma because we are a Christian state — we are a moral state."

"We want to lower taxes and let people be able to live and work and go to the faith they choose," he continued. "We are a Republican state and I’m going to vote my district, and I’m going to vote my values, and we don’t want that in the state of Oklahoma."

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Oklahoma Democrat Kody Macaulay shared his disgust at the senator's bigotted statement in a fuming message to X, formerly Twitter.

"With America fixated on Oklahoma, our GOP representatives keep showing their true colors," he wrote. "Tom Woods is a pathetic excuse for a human being who doesn’t reflect the values of the Air Force that I served in."

Sen. Kay Floyd, the first openly lesbian elected in Oaklahoma representing District 46, issued her own statement.

"As elected officials, we are held to a higher standard," Floyd said. "Words have consequences, and this kind of conduct is unbecoming of an elected official. It is our duty to represent and protect everyone, and not make things worse."

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The tragic events surrounding Benedict's death shed light on the broader issues of discrimination and violence faced by LGBTQ+ individuals in Oklahoma. The teenager, who used they/them pronouns, recounted the harrowing details of the attack to authorities from their hospital bed.

Reports indicated that the altercation stemmed from an incident where Benedict sprayed water on some classmates who had been bullying them and their friends.

Despite the gravity of the situation and the loss of a young life, Woods did not retract his inflammatory statements, causing further consternation among the public.

The circumstances surrounding Benedict's passing have raised questions about the handling of the case by law enforcement and the justice system.



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