#OTD 40 years ago, Sally Ride became the first U.S. woman to fly to space. Her legacy sparked a fire that continues to ignite, paving the way for future space explorers. ??
— NASA's Johnson Space Center (@NASA_Johnson) June 18, 2023
How things have changed in ‘just’ forty years… from the 2012 NBC archives, “Why Sally Ride waited until her death to tell the world she was gay”:
In life, Sally Ride became famous as America’s first woman in space — and in death, she’s now added to her fame as the first acknowledged gay astronaut.
The revelation came in a low-key way: Monday’s obituary from Sally Ride Science, the educational venture she founded a decade ago, referred to Tam O’Shaughnessy as “her partner of 27 years.” A spokeswoman for Sally Ride Science, Terry McEntee, said Ride and O’Shaughnessy, who is the company’s chief operating officer and executive vice president, worked out the phrasing of the announcement before Ride’s death.
In an email today, Sally Ride’s sister, Bear Ride, explained why the former astronaut kept quiet about her sexual orientation.
“In her inherent Norwegian reticence — in this and so many aspects of her personal life (wrestling with pancreatic cancer, for example) — she just didn’t talk much (see Norwegian comment, and add to that the typical tight-lipped scientist thing),” Bear wrote. “If you read interviews from years and years back, you’ll see that there was always a major frustration that she didn’t comment much on ‘how it feels to be the first American woman in space’ — she just didn’t think that way. She wanted to get the job done. Her personal feelings were just that: personal. Not right or wrong — simply Sally. Everyone who knows her well really got that about her.”…
“I was very fortunate to spend time with her right before she passed away,” said Karen Flammer, a research physicist at the University of California at San Diego and one of the founders of Sally Ride Science. “We were able to talk about what she envisioned for our company, and our legacy and her legacy.”
Ride’s status as a former astronaut wasn’t uppermost in her mind, Flammer told me. “Her true passion really was science education, and inspiring more young people, particularly girls, to follow a career path in science and technology,” she said…
Anybody got any information on ‘Out Astronaut’? I can’t find much:
Help @IIAS_NLC in their efforts to better serve the LGBTQ+ community in science and space. @Outastronaut1 is running a scholarship contest for LGBTQ+ individuals. https://t.co/AImR2jQm0H Deadline is June 30th! Chcek it out and spread the word! ???????? pic.twitter.com/Y7FeQR7K9L
— The Inspired 24 (@theinspired24) June 19, 2023