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Libs of TikTok targeted a district, then a non-binary student dies after campus assault

According to the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security, and Law: “stochas­tic terrorism involves ‘the use of mass media to provoke random acts of ideolog­i­cally motivated violence that are statistically predictable but individually unpre­dict­able.’” Self-described stochastic terrorist and January 6th Capitol rioter Chaya Raichik, owner of the social media account Libs of TikTok, has become infamous for her viral harassment and moral panic campaigns targeting minorities— with an emphasis on vilifying LGBTQ+ existence. Since 2022, Raichik’s posts targeting advocates for and members of the LGBTQ+ community have been followed with a deluge of violent death threats (including lynching threats against the Los Angeles Unified School District).

Children’s hospitals and school districts in the crosshairs of Raichik and her devoted fans have collectively suffered over 20 bomb threats so far, according to various law enforcement agencies. Detective Hanna Dvorak of the Coralville Police Department, who investigated one of these bomb threats against a junior high school in her city, told her superiors that “it appears this all stems from a post made earlier this week by Chaya Raichik and her ‘Libs of TikTok’ account.”

Nowhere has Raichik’s influence been more visible than Oklahoma, where her anti-LGBTQ+ exploits earned her an official position on the Oklahoma Department of Education’s Library Media Advisory Committee by controversial far-right Superintendent Ryan Walters. Under Walters’ leadership, Oklahoma has been aggressively working to ban books and education on LGBTQ+ issues in schools across the state, with Oklahoma’s Attorney General Gentner Drummond stating that proposed rules to ban LGBTQ+ books and content are “unconstitutional and cannot be enforced.” It’s been confirmed that Raichik’s posts have fueled multiple bomb threats against schools specifically in Oklahoma.

Officials from Oklahoma told NBC News that they believe Chaya Raichik’s anti-LGBTQ+ culture warring “sparked threats in their localities with her posts on social media that digitally heckle people such as drag performers, LGBTQ teachers and doctors who treat transgender patients.”  

One of these instances was at the Owasso School District (just outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma). In 2022, Chaya Raichik targeted an Owasso teacher for speaking out in support of LGBTQ+ students who lacked acceptance from their parents. Raichik’s post was shared thousands of times on social media and resulted in the teacher getting condemned and harassed until they resigned. The posts Raichik made about the teacher were later deleted, but have been archived. It’s unclear what prompted the deletion of the posts by Raichik. We know Raichik’s Libs of TikTok posts have contributed to a culture of intolerance against LGBTQ+ youth in schools, and now this hate may be manifesting beyond mere threats.

Nex Benedict, a non-binary transgender 16-year-old student at Owasso High School, was brutally murdered in an assault in the girl’s restroom this month. Benedict was also of indigenous Choctaw ancestry. According to local news outlets and family, Nex Benedict was beaten by three older female students. The mother of Benedict’s best friend told KJRH News that "one of the girls was pretty much repeatedly beating [Benedict’s] head across the floor.” Reports say Benedict was unable to take themselves to the nurse’s office after a teacher finally intervened in the brutal assault. For reasons that remain unclear, Owasso High School refused to call an ambulance for 16-year-old Nex Benedict, who died from their injuries in the hospital the next day. A motive for this killing has not been shared by law enforcement, but we know that schools in Oklahoma have been specifically pushing violent eliminationist rhetoric against transgender and non-binary youth— a fact exemplified by the state’s hiring of Chaya Raichik following her incitements of terror against the state’s schools over LGBTQ+ rights. The Independent interviewed Sue Benedict, the mother of Nex Benedict, and confirmed that Nex Benedict was aware of Chaya Raichik’s now-deleted tweets targeting their local pro-LGBTQ+ teacher. In fact, Benedict had greatly admired this teacher before they were forced out of the job by Raichik’s harassment, according to their mother. “Nex was very angry about it,” she told their reporter.  

“This is the inevitable result of the anti trans moral panic,” said civil rights attorney Alejandra Caraballo, who shared an article about Benedict’s death published by the Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents Blog. “This is horrifying, and comes as lawmakers are increasingly spreading fear over trans people in bathrooms,” wrote LGBTQ+ journalist and advocate Erin Reed regarding this murder.

Violent attacks on transgender and non-binary youth have been increasing across the nation as a legislative blitzkrieg from Republican lawmakers targets their collective rights to exist. According to a report from UCLA’s William Institute School of Law: 33% of transgender and non-binary youth in the United States have had gender-affirming healthcare key to their existence banned by their local governments. Last year, a transgender teenager named Jacob Williamson was murdered after being stabbed and cut over 30 times. Anti-LGBTQ+ hate trafficked by Raichik and others like her have real world consequences. Lives are already being lost in this climate.

According to their obituary, Nex Benedict loved “nature and caring for cats” (especially their own cat Zeus) and “enjoyed a variety of pastimes such as watching the Walking Dead, reading, and playing Ark and Minecraft.” They will be sorely missed by friends, family, and the LGBTQ+ community.


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