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Long-Lived Lesbian And Former FBI Agent Rocks Guitar: Susan SurfTone (Part 2)

"I had to choose between the FBI and music, and I picked music."


Robbie McClaran

In part one, long-lived lesbian Susan SurfTone talked about her musical background and undergraduate years. Here, she tells LLL about her first career, with the FBI.

SurfTone didn't use her law degree from Boston College in a traditional manner. "I never wanted to practice law in a law firm. I passed the New York bar the first time I took it, so I could have, but I really didn't want to. The FBI was hiring, and I interviewed with them. It seemed like an alternative to a law career, and it seemed exciting."

"When I interviewed with the FBI, I knew they were going to interview my friends about me, and I only gave them names of people who would not tell them I was gay. And I knew that the FBI would also ask those people for names of more people to interview, so I had to be very careful to know who to send them to. And it worked! They didn't find it out. So my way into the FBI was to outsmart the FBI!"

"I knew the FBI did counter-intelligence, and that was interesting to me. It seemed like it would be fun, and it was. I was a counter-intelligence investigator. First I went to Quantico, which was challenging and fun, and then I went to Boston and worked bank burglaries. Then I asked to transfer to New York City because I wanted to do counter-intelligence work. I got the transfer, because not many agents wanted to go to New York then. In New York, as a special agent, I would be assigned to agents that were KGB or GRU, the military branch of their intelligence service, and we'd keep an eye on them. A lot of surveillance, some wiretaps – it was fun."

But she still wasn't doing music as much as she wanted. "In the 1980s, in my early twenties, I really wanted to play in a band. I was in New York, working for the FBI after law school. I started going to these clubs, CBGBs, Great Gildersleeves, Fireflies, and I wanted to play there."

"I was getting older, for a rock musician, about 28, and I decided, 'I'm going to do it now or I'm never going to do it.' It was now or never."

"I started rehearsing with some people, and people came and went and eventually we got a band together that was good enough to play in some clubs. I went to my boss at the bureau, and I asked if they'd have a problem with me playing in clubs downtown. I don't think he did personally, but he said "they" would: "they" would have a problem with it. So I had to choose between the FBI and music, and I picked music."

Susan SurfTone's story finishes in the next LLL Column. 

Want to see more lesbian rockers? Send suggestions to: curveseniors@gmail.com

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