The DFW Sisters hosted a vigil for murder victim Nex Benedict. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

The DFW Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence hosted a vigil at the Legacy of Love monument on Saturday night to remember Nex Benedict.

Benedict was the Oklahoma non-binary teenager who died from injuries suffered when they were attacked the day before at school. The school classified the attack by three girls as bullying rather than assault.

Sister Ivana Latta opened the vigil saying, “I am terrified for our trans youth.” She said that school districts across Texas are making their own policies that are resulting in more trans and non-binary youth getting bullied and attacked.

“We’re the only ones who can protect trans youth,” she said.

Rafael McDonnell from Resource Center said he had three point to make. His speech was short but powerful.

“One. Nex should be alive today,” McDonnell said and added that the attack was foreseeable. Two, he said, was that he was glad the feds announced that they’re going to investigate.

“Three, we should not have to be resilient.” After mass shootings at gay clubs, the LGBTQ community gets together and talks about recovering from the trauma of the attacks because we’re resilient. When legislatures pass anti-trans legislation, we recover from that trauma because we’re resilient. McDonnell said these traumas shouldn’t be created and we shouldn’t have to come together as a community to overcome them.

The Rev. Neil Thomas called the monument and the island it stands on at Cedar Springs and Oak Lawn sacred ground. “This is our safe space and it must continue to be so,” he said.

He also warned about the rise of “Christian nationalists,” whom he clearly defined as “not Christians.” Uniformed nazis have demonstrated outside of Thomas’ church, Cathedral of Hope.

He warned that a tactic of the right is to divide and conquer. One goal is to separate the LGB from the T, he said, “And we must not allow that to happen.

The vigil concluded with a prayer from Sister Lola Hangers.

About 100 people attended the vigil that was organized by the DFW Sisters. This was the first time since the pandemic that the LGBTQ community has gathered at the monument for a protest where dozens of vigils and protests have been staged in the past.

David Taffet