Sally Ride - A True American Lesbian Superhero Dies At 61 | Jive in the [415] Blog | Gay LGBT News Political Commentary

July 24, 2012

Sally Ride - A True American Lesbian Superhero Dies At 61

Sally Ride, the former NASA astronaut, who was the first American woman to fly on a NASA space mission, and the youngest American to fly on a NASA space mission, died on Monday July 23rd, 2012. She was also the only woman to make two trips on a NASA space mission.

Sally was born in Encino, California, and was the oldest daughter of Joyce and Dale Ride. She was a double major at Stanford University, and graduated with bachelor’s degrees in English and physics. She also earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. in physics at Stanford.

The Los Angeles Times reports:
Ride died Monday at her home in La Jolla after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 61.

Her trip into space made Ride a household name and a symbol of the ability of women to break the glass ceiling, inspiring generations of young girls and women who came after her.

"Sally Ride broke barriers with grace and professionalism — and literally changed the face of America's space program," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement. "The nation has lost one of its finest leaders, teachers and explorers. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sally's family and the many she inspired. She will be missed, but her star will always shine brightly."
According to BuzzFeed, Sally Ride came out as a lesbian in her obituary.
Sally Ride, who died today after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer, was the first female U.S. astronaut in space and became friends with Tam O'Shaugnessy at the age of 12.

It was not until today, however — nearly 50 years after meeting — that their 27-year romantic relationship was made public.

The pioneering scientist was, a statement from Sally Ride Science announced, survived by "Tam O'Shaughnessy, her partner of 27 years."

With that simple statement — listed alongside her mother, Joyce; her sister, Bear; her niece, Caitlin and nephew, Whitney — Ride came out.

Bear Ride, talking with BuzzFeed, said today, "We consider Tam a member of the family."

Saying that her sister was a very private person, Bear Ride said, "People did not know she had pancreatic cancer, that's going to be a huge shock. For 17 months, nobody knew -- and everyone does now. Her memorial fund is going to be in support of pancreatic cancer.

"The pancreatic cancer community is going to be absolutely thrilled that there's now this advocate that they didn't know about. And, I hope the GLBT community feels the same," Bear Ride, who identifies as gay, said.

"I hope it makes it easier for kids growing up gay that they know that another one of their heroes was like them," she added.
Sally Ride was a pioneer in space, and now Sally Ride is an LGBT pioneer and hero who went to space.

Our country lost a true American lesbian superhero. RIP Sally.

straight talk in a queer world.          
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  1. I always considered Sally Ride a hero, but a "superhero"? Maybe that's a misuse of the word, or maybe it fits in the context of Ride being a lesbian. Personally, I don't think so, but that's just my opinion; your mileage may vary.

    She had what I consider to be the correct attitude about it - it was nobody's business but her own. The world knows nothing about my sexual orientation either, and my intention is for it to stay that way.

    I am curious about one thing. Was the "coming out" in her obituary her idea, or someone else's?

    1. The "coming out" in her obituary was her idea. I gave thought to using superhero or hero, and I don't think it's a misuse of the word at all. The LGBT community has so few role models to look up to, and Sally Ride was so iconic, that I think calling her a superhero is appropriate.