(January 25, 1962 - living) U.S.A.
Aaron Fricke was born in Providence Rhode Island. At 17 he decided to take a male date to the high school prom. That was in 1980. The battle Fricke fought is still going on in high schools around the world.
"The simple thing would have been to go to the senior prom with a girl. But that would have been a lie -- a lie to myself, to the girl, and to all the other students,"
he later wrote.
He had been seeing fellow student Paul Guilbert most of the year and both had recently come out. They wanted to share their love with their fellow students. His principal wouldn't let him. The principal was afraid the other students might be offended, or that it could even get violent. To Aaron, it was a question of free expression. Why shouldn't he be able to be who he was at the prom, like everyone else could? The case ended up in the courts, and Fricke won.
"He feels his attendance would have a certain political element and would be a statement for equal rights and human rights."
(United States District Judge Raymond J. Pettine)
The federal court in Rhode Island told Aaron's school that it had to let him attend the prom with Paul. In fact, the court even told the school that it had to provide enough security that Aaron and his date would be safe. After Aaron went with Paul to the prom, Aaron remembered what he was thinking as he stared at all the reporters who were there.
"I thought of all the people who would have enjoyed going to their proms with the date of their choice, but were denied that right; of all the people in the past who wanted to live respectably with the person they loved but could not; of all the men and women who had been hurt or killed because they were gay; and of the rich history of lesbians and homosexual men that had so long been ignored. Gradually we were triumphing over ignorance. One day we would be free."
He recounts the battle over that date in Reflections of a Rock Lobster: A Story About Growing Up Gay.