Following a Furious Rebuke from Outraged Oklahomans, Ryan Walters Continues to Spread Hate, Maligning and Misgendering Trans Student Nex Benedict

by Delphine Luneau

As Oklahomans Increasingly Turn Out to Tell Him to His Face that His Failed Leadership Has No Place in Their State, Walters Turns to Right-Wing Echo Chamber of Fox News in Desperate Bid for Support

In response to an op-ed published today by Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters, who seeks to divert blame for the death of nonbinary Oklahoma teen Nex Benedict following a bullying incident that took place at school, Kelley Robinson, Human Rights Campaign President, released the following statement:

“It is ludicrous and offensive to see Ryan Walters painting himself as an opponent of bullying and defender of children while in the same breath, he misgenders and insults Nex Benedict — the young Oklahoma teen who died following a school bullying incident on his watch, in the state school system that he leads. This is further evidence that he doesn’t have the vaguest idea of how to actually run a state school system and is interested in nothing but raising his own profile, insulting a teen who died in tragic circumstances, fanning the flames of hatred, and attacking the entirety of Oklahoma’s LGBTQ+ community. Ryan Walters, you should be ashamed of yourself. Resign now.”

The op-ed follows a day after Walters took part in a “town hall” event at Oklahoma State in which he completely crumbled under the pressure of facing criticism from OSU students appalled by his mismanagement of the state’s education system and his attacks on LGBTQ+ people. Moments after declaring that he would “never back down from a woke mob,” he fled the scene rather than endure the withering pressure from Oklahoma residents registering their First Amendment rights to express displeasure with an incompetent public servant.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

Contact Us

To make a general inquiry, please visit our contact page. Members of the media can reach our press office at: (202) 572-8968 or email