By Veronica Zerrer
Longtime Neutral Corner member Joyce Maxwell died recently of complications associated with leukemia.
The owner of Absolute Permanent Electrolysis & Skin Care, Joyce was a board-certified and licensed electrologist (CPE, LE), as well as a licensed esthetician. Over the course of decades, Joyce was the provider of choice for many Neutral Corner members.
Along with her spouse, Melissa, Joyce attended many meetings and could be seen at myriad social and professional events for the transgender community in the San Diego region.
Joyce was born on September 21, 1948. She was one of three daughters born to Holocaust survivors who had relocated to the United States after World War II. According to her sister, Lois Wittner, Joyce was never afraid to express her pride that her birth year coincided with the establishment of the nation of Israel.
She was a licensed electrologist who provided a valuable service to the transgender community in the San Diego region. So well respected was she that clients throughout Southern California would make the hours-long journey to her offices in San Diego for hair removal. She offered her services to the members of Neutral Corner and others with complete acceptance, in an unquestioning and affirming environment. She had dozens of clients over the years of her professional life, yet would never divulge who they were. She guarded her clients’ confidentiality as closely as a therapist would.
Many clients listened to audio books while Joyce worked on them. Once, when I complimented her on being such a wonderful conversationalist, she humbly replied that she learned so much from the books she heard while working that it felt like getting a master’s degree in literature and philosophy at the same time. She enjoyed her work and felt it made a positive difference in the lives of the trans people she encountered.
Instead of a memorial service, her family held a Celebration of Life on June 24. All who knew her were certain she would have preferred that to a solemn mourning ceremony. While adults got to know one another, the sound of children playing in the background by the swimming pool could be heard. Some of Joyce’s favorite music played. Her friends, Tony and Eric, catered the event, and everyone seemed to have a good time.
Later came the eulogies for her. I was privileged to speak at her celebration as a friend, client, and finally as president of Neutral Corner. While there were others who knew her longer, I felt that you didn’t have to know her long to know her well. Joyce was like that. She offered herself to people in an honest way, as if to say, “Take me or leave me; either way, what you see is what you get.”
We’ll miss her.