A school board candidate near Pensacola, Florida, said Monday that doctors who treat transgender youth "should be hanging from the nearest tree."
Alisabeth Janai Lancaster, who is running for a seat on the Santa Rosa County School Board, spoke Monday night at an event called "Closing Arguments," a political forum held by a local group named the Gulf Coast Patriots, the Pensacola News Journal reported.
“These doctors that 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,” she said, 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.
The crowd applauded.
A video of Lancaster's speech was first shared by the Gulf Coast Patriots on Facebook but was later removed following media coverage, the News Journal reported.
Lancaster said she is a conservative who holds Christian values and would "love to see the prayer reinstated instead of the moment of silence."
"Our country was founded on Judeo-Christian values and beliefs that I believe should be respected and encouraged," she said.
She added that the "welfare and protection" of students is her first priority and is the main reason she is running for school board.
Children "should not be burdened with a woke agenda" that leads to "destruction," she said. She claimed that pharmaceutical companies "are paying $1.3 million for each gender reassignment," but she didn't say where she received that information.
Lancaster has not returned a request for comment.
Though school board races are nonpartisan, the Santa Rosa County Republican Executive Committee had previously endorsed Lancaster in the race for the District 3 school board seat, according to the News Journal.
Rita Gunter, the Santa Rosa County Republican Party chair, has not returned a request for comment.
Devin Cole, the president of Strive: Socialist Trans Initiative, a group that supports transgender people in northwest Florida, told the News Journal that Lancaster “said the quiet part of what conservatives believe.”
“Of course, as the president of Strive, it’s a disgusting and deployable comment and a reminder that we absolutely have to unite and fight these horrible reactionary people who want to kill us,” Cole said. “She pretty much said it. They want to kill us, and we have to do everything in our power to overthrow them, because now it’s boiling down to a matter of life and death for us as transgender people.”
Lancaster's comments are an example of how LGBTQ issues and race have become central debates in many school board races. They're also an extension of a larger national push by Republican lawmakers, who over the last two years have introduced hundreds of bills that target LGBTQ people, particularly transgender youth.
Three states — Arkansas, Tennessee and Alabama — have passed measures that bar or restrict gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors. Eighteen states, including Florida, have enacted measures that ban transgender students from participating on school sports teams that align with their gender identity as opposed to their assigned sex at birth.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, also signed the Parental Rights in Education law, or what critics call the "Don't Say Gay" law, because it 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 took effect last month, some school boards also adopted their own additional policies to restrict the discussion of LGBTQ topics. The Leon County School Board, for example, unanimously approved an “LGBTQ Inclusive School Guide,” which includes a measure that requires school staff to alert parents if a student who is “open about their gender identity” is in their child’s physical education class or with them on an overnight school trip.