Joshua Tree has long been known as a place that accepts all comers. Seekers, hippies and the generally eccentric are welcome to come and be... well, themselves. It is a community of people, particularly the artistic community, who will accept you as you are.
A late transitioning transwoman, Jenelle Weisskopf has found acceptance here - and reasonable rent. A former member of the Air Force, Jenelle is a software engineer mainly working from home. Jenelle first came to the desert presenting as a man and lived in Yucca Valley - her life was very different then.
Work and life took her away from the desert to San Diego where, in the last few years, housing was becoming more and more expensive and some unpleasant incidents surrounding her gender identity were happening. Two years ago, after a conversation with a desert friend, Jenelle left San Diego, returning to the desert.
In this episode Jenelle talks about how overhearing a conversation while standing in line at a local convenience store, she found a local group playing Dungeons and Dragons, inspiring her to create her own similar game, using Joshua Tree as it's backdrop.
Jenelle also is finding time to return to playing the guitar and has many other varied interests, including home-brewing beer and has fun creating costumes for attending the annual Gaslight Steampunk Expo in San Diego, reuniting with friends she has met there in previous years.
We also talk about the distinct differences she has experienced, particularly on the job, having presented as both a man and a woman.
Jenelle ended our podcast conversation with a beautiful statement, bringing us both to tears.
If we are here to do anything, it is to love one another and help each other become the absolute best people we can be.
If you're a local interested in joining the local D&D game or Jenelle's game, find her on Instagram @mistressofcheese.
Below are a few links I mention at the end of this episode.
Thanks again for your support and here's to another year of stories from the fantastic women making this desert their home.
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Interview with Ed Ryan of Podcast Business Journal
'This Desert Life' by Matthew Cabe, Victorville Daily Press