Will Janelle Crossley be PA’s first openly transgender person in the state House?

Running in House District 199 – parts of Cumberland County


To reveal or not to reveal. That was the question for Janelle Crossley.

She’s running for State Representative in HD-199 (parts of Cumberland County) as the first openly transgender woman to seek elected office in the state.

Erie School Board member Tyler Titus, a trans man, was the first transgender official, elected in 2017. See his bio at,2851?

When interviewed by Stephen Caruso of Pennsylvania Capital-Star, Central Voice’s content-sharing partner, on disclosure she asked out loud, “If you’re hiding that, what else could [you] hide if [you] are in office?”

So, when she announced her candidacy in late January, Crossley did so knowingly she is the first openly transgender woman to run for Pennsylvania’s state House.

Rated by Cumberland Valley Rising with a 7/7 in their 2020 Voting Guide. Her opponent, Barbara Gleim was rated a 0/7. Click the following link to see the full 2020 Voting Guide.

What does Crossley bring to the public arena as a candidate?

Recently semi-retired, Crossley worked for 25 years in health care facility management. She is currently employed by Community Cares Emergency Shelter. She is a regional representative for TransAdvocacyPA, a Big Sister (the first trans person) of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the Capital Region, on the community advisory committee of Safe Harbour, a Board member of the Amani Festival, and holds a lifetime appointment to the Cumberland County Roundtable. Crossley also serves as a liaison for the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program and Children and Youth Services (CYS) in Cumberland County, as well as serving on the CASA advisory committee. She lives in Newville, PA with her wife, dog, and cat, and has one daughter and two grandchildren.

Crossley’s campaign platform outlined on her website focuses on leadership, justice, and equity.

More specifically she points to the application of social justice and equality to nursing home care and staffing, restoring the economy, school funding, school safety, gun violence, response to climate change, improving infrastructure in our communities, combating homelessness, working for equality, and equal pay for women, and ensuring equality for all races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and gender identities/expressions. Crossley is a sole advocate for gender identity in Central Pennsylvania and surrounding states and three years ago extended her advocacy for bullying, harassment, and discrimination for children and adults within our school systems.

Central Voice: In a busy world – and with ongoing Covid-19 pressures – it’s difficult for voters to dig down into issues such as applying social justice and equality principles to nursing home care. Summarize for voters how you would apply these principles to a nursing home setting.

Janelle Crossley: Improvement of patient care is a dynamic process and should be uppermost in the minds of medical care personnel. Development and sustenance of a patient-sensitive system is most critical to achieving this objective. It is important to pay attention to quality in every aspect of patient care, both medical and non-medical. Nursing home staffing: Staffing is one of the most important measures of nursing home quality, and it accounts for about two-thirds of a facility's spending on average. Most days, nursing home staffing levels are below the Center for Medicare Services (CMS) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health policies and procedures. This is when quality-of-care problems are going to emerge.

A 2001 USCMS study established the importance of having a minimum of 0.75 RN hours per resident day (hprd), 0.55 LVN/LPN hprd, and 2.8 (to 3.0) CNA hprd, for a total of 4.1 nursing hprd to meet the federal quality standards. These statistics are not enough and must be increased. Despite improvements, statistics show that the median nursing home has RN, CNA, and total staffing levels, which are below the CMS recommended standard. A well-trained team is critical to providing high-quality care with desirable outcomes. Lack of adequate personnel and lack of adequate training facilities for the available personnel are major problems

If elected I will work with the Department of Health and CMS to resolve these very important issues which include short staffing, low wages and benefits, and adequate training opportunities.

CV: With your attention to the economy and infrastructure, school funding, school safety, gun violence, and climate change, is your effort “intersectional” in its outlook? In other words, is your desire to serve the public broader than only LGBTQ+ issues?

JC: Yes, I desire to serve the public on issues broader than only LGBTQ+ issues, but I vow to support all concise, inclusive legislation that will provide equality to all people, unlike my opponent who has openly stated her opposition relation to LGBTQ+ issues.

CV: You are deeply involved in your community through numerous nonprofit missions. What’s been your reception?

JC: I have been very lucky and fortunate to have been supported for who I am. I am well respected and treated fairly just as any other candidate would be.

CV: Pennsylvania is the only Northeast state without LGBTQ+ civil rights protections on its books. How do you think that logjam can be broken up?

JC: This will be accomplished by legislation that believes in equality for all peoples. This is brought about by advocates, activists, allies, and bringing visibility, awareness, and education to society and lawmakers.

The Human Rights Campaign is spending $267,000 in the state for a get-out-the vote push aimed at people unlikely to vote but who support LGBTQ+ rights issues. If Crossley wins in November, she’ll be the first openly transgender person to be seated in Pennsylvania’s state House.


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment