interACT has a new Executive Director—and they are a passionate intersex lawyer who absolutely adores community, telling stories, meeting new people and travel. Get to know Erika Lorshbough (they/she) with us as she leads interACT in its advocacy for all intersex people.
Q: What excites you about leading interACT?
Erika: Right now I am really most excited about all the wonderful folks I am going to meet and build community with! Truly, interACT just feels like a perfect fit. I have found the best possible way to use my skills and my voice: on behalf of other people like me. Where I am successful in this role, I will protect the rights and improve the wellbeing of people who haven’t even come into the world yet. What a thought. What a joy!
Q: Why is being an intersex person yourself important for this work?
Erika: Most importantly, I think, interACT is at the leading edge of policy change to secure the rights of intersex people in America. It is ideal for any kind of policy change to be driven by the people it impacts. Of course, being intersex myself doesn’t mean that I have all the same experiences as everyone else who has an intersex variation. It does mean that I share some common experiences. I am perhaps more easily able to understand the implications of other experiences that I haven’t lived myself. There is a fundamental solidarity that allows us to move together toward shared goals, while we honor and celebrate our distinctions and our individual ways of being.
” Where I am successful in this role, I will protect the rights and improve the wellbeing of people who haven’t even come into the world yet. What a thought. What a joy! “
Q: What does your dream for an intersex-inclusive world look like?
Erika: I start by offering my belief that empathy and compassion are key to meaningful inclusion. The intersex-inclusive world I hope to live in (and help build!) is one where we honor each other’s humanity not just despite differences. Instead, we hold the understanding that it is the differences and spaces between us that give us the room we need to play and learn and figure out who we are, and to make choices, make mistakes and grow. I dream of an environment where all people can rely on their right to determine for themselves who they are and how they express that in the world around them. I am grateful all the time that I feel able to be who I am without fear or pressure to be a different way and will fight for others to have that experience as well.
Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Erika: My proudest personal accomplishments are probably all about overcoming difficult circumstances and staying the course. I push myself to the finish and grow myself. My proudest professional accomplishments have been those that helped other people feel like they were seen, like their experiences were understood in the halls of power or the rooms where decisions are made, and like they were able to make a difference themselves, by showing up. Basically, I am proud of having found and used my voice despite challenges. I love supporting others in finding their way to tell their own stories. And in the end, all that I have accomplished, personally and professionally, has been with the support of others.
“I dream of an environment where all people can rely on their right to determine for themselves who they are and how they express that in the world around them.”
Q: What book or movie has impacted you the most in your work?
Q: What are your hobbies, interests or favorite ways to spend your time?
Erika: Many of my hobbies and interests are related to travel and being outdoors! I love hiking, swimming and camping, and especially while long-distance travel remains a bit complicated, I try to spend a lot of time in the mountains or at beaches near my home in NYC. Being in nature both energizes me and relaxes me. I also love movies and am currently trying to expand my viewing catalog of older movies, which for now I’ll define as from the 70s and earlier. I also just love hanging out with my two cats, sweet 7-year old rescues named Ham and Rainbow.
Q: Anything else you’d love the intersex community to know about you?
Erika: I love to tell stories – I have many! – and I love to hear others’ stories even more. This exchange is the core of my life’s work. It is also the mode of individual and community healing I utilize most often in my restorative practice. I so look forward to sharing stories together with all of you, and I am already grateful for all that I’m going to learn.
Want to connect with Erika? Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
interACT: Advocates for Intersex Youth is a nonprofit dedicated to advancing the legal and human rights of children born with intersex traits. Founded in 2006, interACT is the largest intersex-led intersex advocacy group in the world, brought the first successful piece of state legislation to address intersex human rights abuses, and regularly advises public and private entities on how best to support the needs of intersex youth and end unwanted childhood surgeries. For questions or requests, please contact email@example.com.
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