Communications Director's blog

Bringing another boy or girl as your date to the prom... in 1980 and today

By Chris Ott, ACLU of Massachusetts communications director

It took courage for a boy to try bringing another boy to the prom in 1980--and even more to sue his school for the way it responded.

That's the true story of Rhode Island student Aaron Fricke, at the heart of Reflections of a Rock Lobster, the premiere of a play by Burgess Clark, performed by the Boston Children's Theatre--now in its second and last weekend. Tickets are available here.

Our friends at GLAD took that pioneering case, Fricke v. Lynch--but unfortunately, the troubles faced by students like Aaron Fricke and his date continue, more than 30 years later.

It was less than two years ago that a school in Mississippi pushed Constance McMillen into national headlines by forbidding her to bring her girlfriend to the prom. Meanwhile, bullying of students like Zach Huston or, wrenchingly, Seth Walsh (1997-2010), remains a terrible problem.

But there's good news. With ACLU help, Constance McMillen won: her school agreed to create a policy protecting students from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, pay Constance $35,000 plus attorneys' fees and expenses, and have the court enter a judgment against her school.

The ACLU is also working for LGBT equality across the country and right here in Massachusetts to make sure that everyone is treated equally no matter who they love... or even just like enough to invite to the prom.

Matthew R. Segal named Legal Director of ACLU Foundation of Massachusetts

ACLU names Christopher M. Robarge as field coordinator for Central Massachusetts