For the month of March, we are highlighting incredible local women-nominated by you, our abc27 viewers, for the amazing work they’ve done in the community.
This week’s Remarkable Woman is described as an active community volunteer who fights for human rights. We’d like you to meet Cumberland County’s, Janelle Crossley.
“I knew that I was different than everybody else. Probably around 6 years old,” Crossley said. “1980, I got married. Eight months after we were married, I told my wife about me.”
She tried to conceal her gender identity.
“We had a daughter. There was good times and bad times with her, also due to me trying to hide my gender identity. Once I transitioned and was comfortable with myself, I kind of look back at my life and see what she I through, what I put other people through, and I wanted to give back. So I decided to become an advocate for gender identity,” Crossley said.
Janelle is an active community volunteer, from helping those homeless to advocating against hatred and bullying in several school districts.
She also donates her time to Community CARES, Safe Harbor Citizens Committee in Carlisle, she sits on the Cumberland County Round Table and is the South East Central Pa. representative for Trans Advocacy Pa., and that’s not all.
“I started working with children and families in gender identity and gender spectrum. And it all led to me becoming a liaison for Cumberland and Perry Children and Youth Services and also the CASA organization,” said Crossley.
She has a little with Big Brothers Big Sisters and was the first openly transgender woman in Pa. to take on the role.
“Working with a child brought so much joy to me,” Crossley added.
Janelle also advocated on behalf of a transgender Amish girl who she says threatened to kill herself, fearing she would be shunned. She talked to the Amish bishop to raise awareness and acceptance.
“The bishop made a statement saying that ‘we will support anybody else who wants to be their true self,'” Janelle said. “And that’s one thing the Amish community dwells is for people to love each other and to be true to who they are.”
Janelle says she is truly humbled to be a Remarkable Woman nominee.
“I am overwhelmed and excited to know that there are people out there that recognize the work that others do. You know, I don’t do what I do for my own personal gain and recognition. I do it for the people,” Crossley said.