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Woodstock: My Queer Love Story

Kate Walter | Longreads | August 15, 2019 | 1,800 words
Posted inEssays & Criticism, Feature, Featured, Nonfiction, Story

Woodstock: My Queer Love Story

Kate Walter went to Woodstock in 1969 with her boyfriend. She went back in 1994 with her girlfriend. She’s not going back again.
Illustration by Mark Wang

Kate Walter | Longreads | Month 2019 | 7 minutes (1800 words)

“Want to go to Woodstock with me?” my boyfriend Joe asked.

“Yes!” I screamed at his offer. I was a 20-year-old student at a conservative Catholic women’s college in New Jersey. Joe was my guide into the radical 60s.

We’d met at the Jersey Shore when my sorority rented a house in Belmar, a party town. Joe was four years older than me, already out of school. He had a job, his own apartment, a motorcycle and long hair. My father disliked him. It didn’t help when my mother found my birth control pills in my dresser.

Joe was over six feet tall, with black hair and dark eyes, kinda hairy and a bit chubby, a bear — not my type at all. He had wire-rimmed glasses, like his idol, John Lennon, and wore vests with fringe. Since Joe was the music editor for The Aquarian, a popular underground newspaper, we became regulars at the Fillmore East. Nothing could have kept us two rockers from the three-day music festival in the lower Catskills.

That was so long ago, Joe and I were both still straight. Years later, in the 70s, we came out — first him, then me. (No wonder the sex wasn’t so hot.)

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