Q+A with Jesse Crosby
Jesse Crosby is a member of the Erin Levitas Foundation Advisory Board. This year during pride month, we asked Jesse to share about why they’re connected to this work.
Why did you want to be a part of this cause?
Erin was my cousin, and we were very close growing up. To be a part of her foundation feels uniquely special: as if I am one part of the ELF team, assisting in carrying on the power of her life mission. I was inspired to engage in conversations as a non-binary trans* person, that could illuminate valuable resources from a place of compassion and inclusivity for the 2SLGBTQPIA+ community, and allies’, alike.
What in your life brought you here? What do you hope to do with your voice on the advisory board?
As someone who knew they were queer and struggling in my youth, I tend to ask myself: If this was my first time coming across/learning [about] ELF, what kinds of information would be accessible for me?
Am I seeing the representation that I needed when I was younger? Does the language feel inclusive, and validating?
Equally, I feel it is important to share from a place that is digestible for those outside of my own community, while ultimately sharing such a way that informs from a respectful place. I hope that someone outside of the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community [teacher, parent, caretaker, etc.] will feel a certain sense of ease in gathering resources, and/or support, and that the 2SLGBTQPIA+ folks feel seen, heard, and valued.
Why is it important to you as a non-binary person to be talking about sexual assault and prevention?
People have a hard time seeing beyond the binary; there are many blind spots. Additionally, it is important to bring to folks awareness that sexual assault impacts the diverse 2SLGBTQPIA+ community, and at an alarming rate. It effects folks of all race, gender identities, and sexual orientations, and more needs to be done for our community as a whole. We should always be a part of the conversation.
What have you learned that you want others to know or understand? What have I learned about sharing with others or working for ELF?
Taking the time to listen, and open your heart can do so much for someone. Utilizing affirming, inclusive language [like folks], and gender-affirming pronouns/terminology [like they/theirs] can be life saving. When someone feels heard, they feel seen, and vice-versa.
Allies: taking the time to continuously educate yourself on how to better support the 2SLGBTQPIA+ community, your peers/friends/family, etc., helps others feel less alone; especially in terms of supporting those who need a listening ear.
You talk about counteracting shame and stigma as a reason to be connected to our work. Why?
I feel strongly that releasing shame and speaking up does something for someone with trauma; for myself specifically, in my own healing journey, it has removed a certain sense of crushing isolation and loneliness that I felt. There is an immense barrier of shame and lack of validity that one may feel when speaking to, or about traumatic events. One of the hardest things to do is getting to a place where we feel safe enough to validate ourselves and our experiences without fear. I feel that releasing shame and stigma is an integral part of healing. In doing hard things, like talking about our trauma, or our experiences, or our pain, even to just one person, it releases a minuscule portion of what feels like a heavy load to carry. This goes for any kind of traumatic experience, and again, this is from my perspective only. Healing is a lifelong journey, and should never be a process that one embarks on alone.