January 25, 1962 |
Providence, Rhode Island
Aaron Fricke is an American gay rights activist. He was born January 25, 1962 in Providence, Rhode Island. He is best known for the pivotal case in which he successfully sued his high school for not allowing him to bring his boyfriend, Paul Guilbert, to the senior prom at Cumberland High School in Cumberland, Rhode Island.
Shortly after he came out in 1980, Fricke began seeing another male student. Fricke decided to bring him as his date to the prom. When the high school informed Fricke he could not bring him to the prom, he filed suit in U.S. District court. The presiding judge, Raymond J. Pettine, ruled in Fricke's favor, ordering the school to not only allow him and his partner to attend as a couple but also to provide enough security to ensure their safety. The case received considerable media attention, and news camera crews filmed and interviewed the couple at the dance.
Fricke later wrote of his experience in a book, Reflections of a Rock Lobster: A Story about Growing Up Gay. He later collaborated with his father, Walter, on Sudden Strangers: the Story of a Gay Son and his Father, a book about their relationship and of the elder Fricke's coming to terms with his son's homosexuality. That book was published shortly after Walter Fricke's death from cancer in 1989. In 2012 and 2013, Boston Children's Theatre presented a play based on the book, adapted by Burgess Clark. The play received national attention for its anti-bullying message.
- ACLU: Who are you taking to the prom this year?
- United States District Court for the district of Rhode Island: Aaron Fricke v. Richard B. Lynch
- Chicago Tribune: Private matters now get taken to the prom (payment required for full article)
- Boyer, David (2004). Kings and Queens. Boston: Soft Skull Press. pp. 64, 67. ISBN 978-1-932360-24-0. OCLC 56041942.
- ACLU: Free Speech, Free Expression and Prom
- Fricke, Aaron (1981). Reflections of a Rock Lobster: A Story about Growing Up Gay. Boston: Alyson Books. ISBN 978-0-932870-09-4. OCLC 7675638.
- Fricke, Aaron; Walter Fricke (1991). Sudden Strangers : the Story of a Gay Son and his Father. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-05869-2. OCLC 22951971.
- "Boston's Children's Theater: Reflections of a Rock Lobster".
- San Francisco Public Library: AARON FRICKE PAPERS 1980-1991
- various images, Sarah Karlan, "In 1980, Two Boys Fought For The Right To Attend Prom Together", BuzzFeed LGBT, May 30, 2013
- Profile at the Living Room
- Aaron Fricke Diaries — OurStory.com