Aaron Fricke and his date Paul talk to attorney John Gaffney just before the Prom.
Photo: Daniel G. Dunn/Picture Group.
Photo: Daniel G. Dunn/Picture Group.
LGBT students have dealt with that beloved/dreaded high school ritual - The Prom - in various ways throughout history. Some of us muddled our way through opposite-sex "dates", pretending to have the time of our lives while secretly longing to slow dance with our best friend. Some of us truly did have a great time, spending the evening with a best friend who was also queer. Some skipped the Prom entirely. Some - more, these days - actually did get that special slow dance with the very person they wanted.
In 1980, an 18-year-old student in Cumberland, Rhode Island took a courageous step that helped make it easier for LGBT students to have the Prom experience they deserve. Aaron Fricke went to court to fight for his right to take a male date to his high school Prom, and, with GLAD's help, he won. You can hear Aaron tell his story, along with Attorney John Ward, in this month's podcast (listen at right), Tuxedoes for Two: Fricke v. Lynch, and read more on the case - including press coverage in everything from Gay Community News to People magazine - on GLAD's website.
Did you attend your Prom? Tell us about your experience!
Other sites of interest:
Aaron Fricke at Gay for Today
Aaron Fricke on ourstory.com
I did not attend my prom. I didn't fully understand at that time that I was a lesbian, but I certainly knew I didn't want to participate in the school-sanctioned boy-girl swirl that was our prom. And I hated wearing dresses, what can I say? :D
Btw, I was graduating about the same time as Aaron and Paul. Wish I had known about them at the time - might have helped me not feel so alone and so harshly judged. I like to remind high schoolers today that in those days, there was ZERO discussion of LGBT anything outside of the locker room and hallway insults. Certainly, sex ed and other "human dimensions" courses did not include us. It is no wonder to me that it took me so long to figure myself out, since I'd been taught by neglect to be a non-entity. Luckily that lesson didn't stick, and the discriminatory establishment has to deal with my retroactive rage in the form of unrelenting constructive civil rights activism. In an odd way, I have the general homophobic society of my childhood to thank for making me a civil rights advocate. At least they did something right!
At the time of my prom, I was dating a girl and we did go to prom together. We walked in and everything. Everyone in the school knew who we were. Our principal and some teachers tried to stop us from dancing together and stop "lesbianism" at the prom but it didn't work. We weren't the first same sex couple to attend our school's prom and we surely aren't the last. People are just going to have to get used to same sex couples, just like they had to when blacks and whites were put together. No matter what there will always be people who don't like it and trying to bring you down, but chill and look past them.
i just recently had my prom. i am proud to say that i went with the girl of my dreams. we danced, ate, talked,and my friends even cheered us on when we were the first couple on the dance floor. The faculty of my school was very supportive. the pricipal introduced us to the board of directors and alumni association. all-in-all its been a good experience.
I went to my high school prom with my ex girlfriend, girlfriend at the time. I was happy because I was able to do so. It was like everything stop when we walked in. A few people still had things to say but that is expected in a group of high school kids. I am thankful we were able to do that. SPHS c/o 01.
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