It's interesting how you can know someone for years but not know their whole story. Jessie Jacobson is someone we've had meals with, gone to concerts with and always enjoyed talking to. We knew that she loved The Beatles and The Monkees. We knew about her work as a therapist. We had heard parts of her amazing personal journey as a trans woman in spoken word performances. But until we sat down to interview her for The Passionistas Project Podcast, we had no idea how accomplished she was and how deeply compassionate she is.
Through the podcast we discovered that Jessie has been a musician since she was a child — heavily influenced by seeing "these four angels" called the Beatles on Ed Sullivan in 1964. She's played in many bands through the years, including a post-punk group called Second Language in the ‘80s and ‘90s. After a more than 15-year-hiatus, Second Language reformed. Surprisingly, the band's socio-political themes are just as relevant today as they were decades ago. Their album Youth Is Not For Pleasure (1985) will be available on CD, download and streaming sites November 20th. And they’ll also be releasing four more albums over the next few months.
After transitioning in 2002, Jessie went back to school at Antioch College and became a Marriage and Family Therapist. Soon after, she was hired as the first Trans Therapist at what was then called the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. Among her first questions after taking the job was, "When do we add the'T'?" She was assured that the rebranding was in the works for what would soon be known as The Los Angeles LGBT Center. In her first year there as a therapist the Trans community at the center grew 800%. Through her work with the Center, she also became a professional lecturer discussing LGBTQ issues, diversity and psychology.
Most recently after joining QueerWise, a writer’s collective and spoken word performance group in Los Angeles, she took her experience to the stage in a group show at the Skylight Theatre and is currently developing a one woman show about her journey.
To hear more about Jessie and how this journey of following her passions has unfolded, tune in to her episode of The Passionistas Project Podcast.
You can find out more about Second Language and their new CD at their website. And QueerWise will be doing two performances of their show AIDS/US/QUEERWISE on December 3rd and 10th at the Skylight Theatre in honor of World AIDS Day. For more info check QueerWise on Facebook.