A school board candidate in the Pensacola, Florida, area said Monday that doctors who treat transgender children “should be hanging from the nearest tree.”
Alisabeth Janai Lancaster, a candidate for the Santa Rosa County School Board, spoke Monday night at “Closing Arguments,” a political forum hosted by a local group called the Gulf Coast Patriots, according to the Pensacola News Journal.
According to a now-viral video shared on social media by Alejandra Caraballo, a clinical instructor at Harvard Law’s Cyberlaw Clinic and a transgender rights advocate, she said, “These doctors who are going along with mutilating these children and prescribing hormone blockers to these kids, in my opinion, they should be hanging from the nearest tree.” The Gulf Coast Patriots initially shared a video of Lancaster’s speech on Facebook, but it was later removed following media coverage, according to the News Journal.
Lancaster described herself as a Christian conservative who would “love to see the prayer reinstated instead of the moment of silence.”
“Our country was founded on Judeo-Christian values and beliefs,” she said, “which I believe should be respected and encouraged.”
She went on to say that the “welfare and protection” of students is her top priority, and that is why she is running for school board.
She stated that children “should not be burdened with a woke agenda” that leads to “destruction.” She claimed that pharmaceutical companies “pay $1.3 million for each gender reassignment,” but she didn’t say where she got that figure.
Despite the fact that school board elections are nonpartisan, the Santa Rosa County Republican Executive Committee previously endorsed Lancaster for the District 3 school board seat, according to the News Journal.
Rita Gunter, the chair of the Santa Rosa County Republican Party, has not responded to a request for comment.
According to Devin Cole, president of Strive: Socialist Trans Initiative, a group that supports transgender people in northwest Florida, Lancaster “said the quiet part of what conservatives believe.”
“Of course, as Strive’s president, it’s a disgusting and deployable comment, and a reminder that we absolutely must unite and fight these horrible reactionary people who want to kill us,” Cole said. “She basically said it. They want to kill us, and we must do everything we can to overthrow them, because it is now a matter of life and death for transgender people.”
Lancaster’s remarks demonstrate how LGBTQ issues and race have become central debates in many school board elections. They are also an extension of a larger national push by Republican lawmakers, who have introduced hundreds of bills targeting LGBTQ people, particularly transgender youth, over the last two years.
Arkansas, Tennessee, and Alabama have all passed legislation prohibiting or restricting gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors. Eighteen states, including Florida, have passed legislation prohibiting transgender students from participating on school sports teams that correspond to their gender identity rather than their assigned sex at birth.
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis also signed the Parental Rights in Education Act, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” Act, which prohibits instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity “in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”
As the law went into effect last month, some school boards enacted additional policies to limit the discussion of LGBTQ issues. For example, the Leon County School Board unanimously approved a “LGBTQ Inclusive School Guide,” which includes a provision requiring school personnel to notify parents if a student who is “open about their gender identity” is in their child’s physical education class or accompanying them on an overnight school trip.