Member Profile: Jersey Rodriguez

Jersey (They/Them) June 27, 2022
Jersey (They/Them) June 27, 2022
Jersey (They/Them) June 27, 2011
Jersey (They/Them) June 27, 2011

“A bad situation can be fixed by one deep, truthful conversation. These days people would rather lose you than fix the situation at hand.”


My name is Jersey Rodriguez, I am a trans masculine person and my pronouns are They/Them. My passion is to raise awareness, work towards ending stigmas and our silence, and empower our diverse community and workforce.

I was born and raised in New Jersey, to a diverse family-Italian, Puerto Rican, Filipino and Asian. I did not have a functional upbringing and have fought for the life I have envisioned for myself since I was 5 years old. I finally began my transition journey October 17th, 2020 at 27 years old! My life is far from perfect but the chaos of life has become my breath of fresh air – because I fought to swim. Something commonly said about me is, “Jersey, you are a force to be reckoned with.”

The most significant and only consistent relationship in my life has been my relationship with my grandmother who saved me from the foster care system and so much more. My grandmother somehow managed to tame an angry 14 year old kid, and she stepped up where my biological parents fell short. She took on the role of a mother, father, sister, mentor, best friend and so much more; my grandma is my lifeline and has encouraged me to pass on the knowledge that she has given to me. I believe that every individual I connect with and influence becomes an extension of myself.

I am the first in my family working to break the cycle of generational trauma and the first to earn a college degree (Criminal Justice). There have been many individuals throughout my life trying to write my story from start to finish, and I took that power away from them so I could write my own story.

Like a lot of the youth I have worked with, I grew up in a system that always said, “It is in the best interest of the child,” without genuine concern or care for my well-being and safety. This negatively impacted me from an early age. To finally have the opportunity to be part of the union has only continued to ignite the fierce advocate that has always been within me.

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to lead uncomfortable conversations because it leads to clarity and unity. It teaches me to be mindful to not dehumanize those I disagree with. Because there is always a chance that our self-righteousness can easily turn us into the things we dislike in others. I did not want to allow the hatred in others to destroy the kindness within myself.

I hope to motivate others to come forward with their experiences so we can improve our professional and personal lives. I have ideas but in order for my voice to be heard we all need to show up and support one another! As of right now I am taking one step at a time and this is the first step towards being more involved in the community and advocating for our workers.
And to keep it short and sweet I work for the Department of Community Justice.
Grandma, Jersey, and Justin
This photo was taken in April of 2021 when I flew back East to visit my grandmother, and as you can our bond is absolutely unbreakable. My best friend of almost 20 years, Justin, made himself a weave hat, put it on our grandma, and we wore her wigs (to show her that we have no shame and to also sow her that we are not judging her). We picked up her “religious” books to take this iconic photo. Justin is a gay black man and my grandmother has loved him like he was her own grandson since the moment they met, our freshmen year of High School. As you can imagine, people were cruel to him when we would go out in public (the 3 of us)-my grandmother spoke out, calling out businesses and their racism. Justin and I have been through a lot of crappy situations/altercations together but we have always had each other's back.
This photo is from March 2016, and this is show how short she is (Italian people shrink as they get older). Our bond is strong and we have had a close relationship throughout my life. I am the only grandchild who gets share this bond (I am 1 out of 5). I honestly have no idea how I am going to exist in a world without my grandmother once she moves on.

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