Vanessa Fabbre: Whether or not it passes, South Dakota bill already impacting transgender students

Faculty; Policy

South Dakota is poised to become the first state to require transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms of their birth sex.

Regardless of whether the governor signs the bill into law, it is already impacting the health and well-being of transgender Americans and their loved ones, said Vanessa Fabbre, assistant professor at the Brown School and an expert on gender transitions, especially later in life.

“It is traumatic to have one’s identity, freedom and safety vulnerable to the political agendas of others, and to not know whether your own state, town or county will threaten these at any time,” Fabbre said.

South Dakota’s House Bill 1008 reflects some of the inequalities that transgender Americans negotiate every day, she said.

“While the potential outcome of this bill is indeed alarming, so too is the fact that it has gotten this far by targeting transgender youth in public schools,” Fabbre said.