Jaime Roisman spreads awareness through his coming out story
The Pride+ president provides resources and support for his fellow queer-identifying peers at Valley College as he reminisces on his coming out experience.
By Natalie Metcalf, Valley Life Editor
Jaime Roisman’s coming out story begins with one question asked to his mother –– “would you still love me if I was a lesbian?” Unapologetic self-expression and a flamboyant style embody Roisman’s leadership in Valley College’s Pride+ club.
Roisman’s journey of self-actualization has involved a series of coming out in his life, first identifying as a lesbian in middle school. As time went on he came out as transgender, feeling his happiest using male identifying pronouns. Now the second-year art major identifies as bi-gender, a term that is under the umbrella of non-binary. Roisman is taking testosterone at the moment and has already gone through with top surgery.
“I am bi-gender but I only use male pronouns,” said Roisman when sharing his gender identity. “That’s what I feel most comfortable with; I have dysphoria relating to female pronouns. Male pronouns make me happy, they give me gender euphoria.”
Roisman also identifies as transmasculine, meaning he is transitioning in a masculine direction. The Pride+ president’s encyclopedic knowledge of queer terms is resourceful in a leadership position within a diverse community.
“There is no one size fits all when it comes to coming out, transitioning and identity,” said Roisman. “People with the same identity can have vastly different experiences. The only way we can get to equity and equality within the queer community is by understanding that you won’t ever fully understand [your identity.]”
Roisman’s style is a major part of his identity. As a bi-gender person, he wants his body to present masculinity, but he enjoys dressing more femininely. Roisman described when he was younger he wore all black. Until he was more comfortable with his identity he experimented with different styles, including a spiked choker necklace.
“The more I came into my identity and mental health, I realized I like the color pink,” said the Pride president. “I love being transgender and I love being gay. I wear dresses, skirts and makeup. It’s all for myself.”
Recently he reconnected with his cousin Zandra , who is a part of the LGBTQIA community herself. Roisman found his cousin’s queer story to be inspiring, as she has been pushing for queer rights since his age.
“She was the first person in my life who made me realize that I could live past my teenage years, no matter what trauma and struggles came with them, fulfilling an adult life as a queer person,” said Roisman about Zandra.
The Pride+ club president takes that inspiration to provide Monarchs with LGBTQIA resources and support. As of right now, Roisman is working on providing a representative from the Pride+ club to attend Inter-Club Council meetings on campus. Previously, Roisman helped raise the LGBTQIA Pride flag on National Coming Out day, which was Oct. 11.
The Rainbow Pride Center at Valley and the San Fernando LGBT Center –– two LGBTQIA programs connected to the Pride+ club –– are helping Roisman legally change his name. Being a transgender person, Roisman feels he will be able to share his experiences with other members of the club and the community.
“I am grateful I can provide information that I never had,” said the art major. “I’m just really happy that I am in a leadership position because I am able to provide information that is hard to access.”