Community comes out to support North Bay transgender teen

The Marin County town of Fairfax came to the support of a transgender teenager Thursday evening. 

About 60 people attended a downtown rally, supporting LGBTQ and racial justice. 

Jasper Lauter, 17, took the bullhorn and spoke of an incident last weekend when he was harassed by two strangers.

"Let's figure out how we can be better people, because I believe we can and I just want to see that," shouted Lauter, to loud cheers. 

Cell phone video of the incident has received wide attention, resulting in an investigation and possible criminal charges. 

Lauter was putting up Pride flags in Fairfax Park when he noticed a man and woman hassling some people who were operating a lemonade stand and bake sale to support Black Lives Matter. 

Lauter intervened, and the pair shifted their attention to him, badgering him about his gender and sexual identity. 

"And I told them, I'm a gay trans man," recounted Lauter. 

That unleashed a torrent of ridicule, the man and woman calling Lauter brainwashed and confused, belittling him and pointing at his crotch. 

"You look like a female! There's only two: male and female, that's it!" exclaimed the woman.

The man is also heard making derogatory comments.   

Bystanders stepped in, but the verbal abuse continued.  

"They talked about how I will never be a man, how I don't look like a man because what I have in my pants, and what you can see from the outside isn't what a man would have." 

Lauter was shocked but tried to communicate with them. 

"You're being transphobic," he is heard saying on the video. 

"He really held his cool better than a lot of people would have. He was the adult in this situation and we're really proud of him," said his mother Jennifer Lauter.

Her own reaction?

"What does it matter to you that someone lives a life different than yours? You don't have to scream and yell at them. That's what really pissed me off."    

On video, the man realizes they are being recorded, and blocks the camera with his back, before the two leave the park. 

"That kind of hate is not okay, to ask about someone's genitals, especially a minor, is incredibly low and disgusting," said Jasper, who 

reported the incident to police. 

With witnesses, video and social media, investigators were able to identify the pair swiftly. 

"I don't tolerate this and neither do my officers and we took it very seriously," said Fairfax Police Chief Christopher Morin.

"No one should be treated, or spoken to, in the manner Jasper was spoken to by these people." 

Morin says the woman is 67 and from Larkspur, also in Marin County. 


The 58-year-old man lives in West Marin. 

They have been contacted and investigators are forwarding a report to the District Attorney, seeking two misdemeanors charges: disturbing the peace and a civil rights violation, or hate crime.  

"If it goes to trial and they're convicted, they could face anything from a fine, probation, up to incarceration," said Morin. 

Lauter's ordeal inspired Thursday's rally, in which speakers shared their own experiences of bigotry and hostility. 

"Who is going to step up if we don't realize this is going on and why it's wrong?" said Lauter, who will turn 18 next month and leave his hometown Fairfax, moving to San Francisco for college.

He believes liberal Marin County has a veneer of tolerance, but is in his words, "don't ask, don't tell."

Lauter hopes to see consequences for the two who verbally attacked him.

Equally important, he wants to see awareness and education among families and communities too.  

"People are dying, people are losing their rights, because of the color of their skin, who they love or who they are," he told the crowd. 

Debora Villalon is a reporter forKTVU.  Email Debora at and follow her on Twitter@DeboraKTVU