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.
The case set a precedent that has been used across the United States to establish a legal right for students to bring same sex partners to school proms and other school social events.
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, 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.
Aaron Fricke and Paul Gilbert the night of the prom
Aaron Fricke is an American gay rights activist (born January 25, 1962). 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. The case set a precedent that has been used across the United States to establish a legal right for students to bring same sex partners to school proms and other school social events.
Robert Patrick (center), Aaron Fricke (right) and a friend, photographed by Phil Willkie, 1983
Fricke's archive material, covering the period of writing the two books, is held in the San Francisco Public Library.
Reflections of a Rock Lobster: A Story about Growing Up Gay by Aaron Fricke
Paperback: 154 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 2 edition (August 6, 2013)
Amazon: Reflections of a Rock Lobster: A Story about Growing Up Gay
Amazon Kindle: Reflections of a Rock Lobster: A Story about Growing Up Gay
The NEW Author's 21st-Century Reprint! Part coming-of-age story, part love story, part courtroom drama...and ALL TRUE! This is a moving account of what gay pride can really mean in a small New England town. First published in 1981, this new edition has been revised by the author and includes over 20 pages of new material and illustrations...a pictorial on the Boston stage show and Rock Lobster trivia!
More LGBT History at my website: www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Persistent Voices
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