Protest Held Outside School Board Member's Home For Transgender Support

Anti-LGBTQ protesters demonstrated outside the home of a school board member in Satellite Beach, Florida, following debates over the board's efforts to accommodate transgender youth.

On Thursday evening, protesters stood outside the home of Brevard Public School Board member Jennifer Jenkins, who had supported inclusive measures for LGBTQ students. Photos posted by Brevard Democrats Chair Stacey Patel showed activists holding signs with slogans such as "LGBTQ agenda is ungodly" and "Two genders & one crazy-evil school board."

One sign read: "The school member that lives here wants transgender males + females in the same bathrooms with your daughters in school." Some brought anti-mask signs.

Jenkins, her husband and young child were out of town that evening, according to Florida Today. However, she said protesters called her neighbors "pedophile lovers" and told her father-in-law that they would show up outside her home every night.

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Tina Descovich, a former Brevard school board member and co-founder of conservative parents group Moms for Liberty—which has criticized the board's stance—said she "wholly" denounces the protest, adding "Moms for Liberty would never support such antics."

The hostilities emerged after Brevard Public Schools recently issued new guidelines surrounding accommodations for LGBTQ+ students. The advisory includes allowing students to access bathrooms and participate in sports in a manner consistent with their gender identity, which elicited criticism from conservative segments of the county's community.

Debates over the guidelines spilled over to a March 9 school board meeting, which attracted 40 speakers, according to Florida Today. Jenkins, donning an LGBTQ flag mask, was in attendance.

When the floor opened for input from the public, a number of LGBTQ+ students—as well as supportive parents and school faculty members—spoke in support of the guidelines against a backdrop of seated attendees wearing shirts emblazoned with "Protect Trans Kids."

"My LGBTQ peers and I are counting on the school board to start cracking down on the discrimination within all schools so that we can go to our classes knowing we will be treated with the same dignity and respect our straight and cisgender peers are," said a transgender high school student. "We are just children going to school. We want to learn, to make friends, to play sports, nothing more."

Many others expressed opposition towards the board's guidelines, espousing religious views and rhetoric regarding transgender people in bathrooms and sports. Florida Today identified some protesters outside Jenkins' home as attendees at the hearing.

A parent accused the board of exercising a "tremendous overreach" of its authority, stating it has "decided to push its own agenda" on her children. One man claimed the LGBTQ community practiced "reverse bullying" by asking people to respect preferred pronouns.

Outside the facility where the meeting was held, anti-LGBTQ protesters heckled speakers entering the building, according to Florida Today.

LGBTQ activists rally in New York City
LGBTQ activists and their supporters rally in support of transgender people on the steps of New York City Hall, October 24, 2018 in New York City. In Florida, an anti-LGBTQ group protested outside the home of a school board member who supported accommodations for transgender students. Drew Angerer/Getty Images