Photo: Brian Mackey

Josie was managing a club in Taunton, MA about five years ago when “a dude walked in with two guns.

“He started going off about how this was a gay establishment, he pointed one gun at the bartender, and one gun right to me and our doorman. He put a gun to my head, had us lie on the ground, robbed us.

“It was pretty scary, I thought I was going to die. We had 12 customers in the bar at the time. The guy was in there for probably three or four minutes, but I swear, it felt like three or four hours.

“The bartender that was on at the time, he was a drag queen. When the guy with the guns left, we ran to the women’s room and locked the door. The cops showed up, and we’re on the phone saying “How do we know it is really the police?” It was surreal, it doesn’t hit you until after the fact, then your body’s in shock.

“I kept doing that job for another week, and then my mother said to me, “You know, this really isn’t a good time to be gay,” and I decided to leave.”

Josie, who is an electrician, moved to Providence three years ago, shortly after marrying her wife, who works as a Spanish teacher. She says they face a variety of reactions as a gay couple.

“Where my family is from, near Randolph, MA, is a little suburb of Boston. People there don’t have an open mind, and they don’t bring their children up to accept other people. There was one black family, it was Marvin Hagler the boxer’s son, and they were the only black family in the whole town. But behind closed doors everyone would talk about that.

“It varies where you go here. If you go to a gay-friendly establishment, you won’t have problems. But my wife and I have had our share of strange looks. It’s what people don’t understand, they fear. But I’m comfortable with who I am in my life. Whatever.”

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