“May the name Nex Benedict be for a blessing.”

The world is often a scary and sad place in which to exist, especially as a queer kid. The news of violence against queer teens, growing anti-LGBTQIA2s+ rhetoric, and an increase in anti-trans legislation throughout the nation can at times feel like more than humans can bear.

The 2023 LGBTQ+ Youth Report conducted by the Human Rights Campaign, indicates that between 46 – 53% of the youth surveyed nationwide indicate that they feel unsafe in at least one setting at school – with bathrooms and locker rooms being the least safe. Transgender and Gender-expansive youth reported the highest rate of feelings of unsafety as compared to other LGBTQ+ students. The recent death of Nex Benedict, following physical and emotional abuse at the hands of their peers, highlights the danger and lack of support many young people experience daily. Nex was not alone in their experience of bullying and violence.

We grieve alongside all those impacted by this tragedy, and all those whose names never end up in the news whose identities have gone unacknowledged, and whose lives have ended too soon in brutal and unnecessary ways. We grieve and we hold space for LGBTQIA2s+ young people in an increasingly confusing world.

Pulse Wellness Cooperative is committed to supporting young people, their families, and organizations in our community, in the creation of safe, affirming, healing, and inclusive spaces.

The most important thing we can do for the young people in our lives is listen and leave open the lines of communication. This is the responsibility of every adult.

Here are some things adults can say to provide support and care to young people who may be grieving, or who are questioning their gender, sexuality, or other aspects of their identity:

  1. “Your feelings are valid and allowed. I’m here for you.”
  2. “I’m not sure how to answer your questions but I’m happy to help you find the answers you’re seeking.”
  3. “You don’t have to say or do anything. We can sit here until you feel better.”
  4. “Would you like me to help with problem-solving or would you like me to just listen?”
  5. “I love you.”

Visit The Trevor Project for additional resources for supporting the young people in your life.

Check out Everywhere is Queer for an interactive listing of LGBTQIA2s+ owned and allied businesses in Portland and across the globe.