Vigil held at Stonewall Inn for Oklahoma teen Nex Benedict

Hundreds gathered at The Stonewall Inn, flooding the streets Monday as they shouted the name of Nex Benedict.

Benedict, a 16-year-old who identified as nonbinary and used they/them pronouns, died the day after they got into an altercation with three girls in an Owasso High School bathroom who were picking on Benedict and some friends. The girls attacked Benedict for pouring water on them, the teen told police in a video released Friday.

Vigils for Benedict were held in Oklahoma and locations across the country, including Boston, Minneapolis, New York and Southern California in the days following the student's death.

Dozens of people held candles and listened to passionate speeches at a gathering Sunday evening in El Paso, Texas.

"As that sort of place of safe harbor, we felt like we needed to stand up and address what happened to Nex Benedict," said Kate Barnhart, the executive director of New Alternatives for LGBTQ+ Homeless Youth.

On February 8th, a day following the fight, the teen showed some troubling health concerns, prompting Benedict’s return to the hospital where they were pronounced dead.

"I feel doubly connected to the moment. I have students who are struggling to figure out who they are in this world," said one teacher in the crowd.

A preliminary autopsy says Bendict’s death wasn’t a result of injuries from the fight though police warrants suggest they were pursuing charges for felony murder in the teen's case.

Among Monday’s massive show of support were teachers like Carla Kelly sharing her sympathy for the late teen.

"When I heard about the news, I thought about any one of my students," Kelly said.

As much as the vigil was to join communities across the country in remembering Nex Benedict, it was also to take aim at political legislation both in New York and other states regarding teens like Nex.

"There’s no coincidence there that Oklahoma passed an anti-trans bathroom bill in 2022," Barnhart told FOX 5.

Oklahoma's Governor signed that bill into law requiring public school students to only use the bathroom of the sex listed on their birth certificate.

While in New York, demonstrators highlighted SB 1532 taken up by the Education Committee in Albany which requires the board of education to establish policies regarding the treatment of transgender or non-binary students in every school district.

"These people are supported; these people are loved. There are many people that support them and will continue to speak on their behalf," said Patrick Buzzell, a teacher also supporting Benedict.