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July 25th, 2012
08:16 PM ET

Opinion: Sally Ride opens a new frontier for others

Editor's Note: Ainissa G. Ramirez, Ph.D., is the director of the award-winning science lecture series for children called Science Saturdays at Yale, and hosts a video series, "Material Marvels. "Technology Review named her one of the world’s 100 Top Young Innovators for her contributions in transforming technology. Follow her on @blkgrilphd. This piece was written in association with The Op-Ed Project.

By Ainissa G. Ramirez, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Sally Ride was a fantastic physicist and astronaut, and later a science education reformer.

I was surprised to learn of her passing on Monday. I was even more surprised to learn that she was a lesbian.

Sally Ride, first American woman in space, dies

She left us with one last gift — she came out publicly.

In just one line, the obituary issued by her company shared her love with the world: “In addition to Tam O’Shaughnessy, her partner of 27 years, Sally is survived by her mother, Joyce; her sister, Bear; her niece, Caitlin, and nephew, Whitney; her staff of 40 at Sally Ride Science; and many friends and colleagues around the country.”

With that, another dimension has been added to her remarkable life, inspiring those who are different, especially gay children.

Sally Ride is a role model.

She is one of my heroes, and I share her story when I speak to groups.

I go around the country trying to encourage students, teachers and audiences about the importance of teaching science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to create problem-solvers.

I especially try to encourage girls by showing them role models. I tell my audiences that Ride’s selfless act was to help others learn and love STEM topics so that they too can live their dreams.

Revenge of the nerds: They've got the best jobs

I aspired to be an astronaut until learning I would not qualify with my poor vision.

But this goal felt tangible because I saw faces in the space program that looked more like mine: Ronald McNair, a black man; Sally Ride, a woman, and Mae Jemison, a black woman. With those models in mind, I pursued a career in science.

Like Ride, I was one of a few women in my department who received a doctorate in science from Stanford. I could only imagine how Stanford’s campus was for a female physics student in the 1970s. When she graduated with a doctorate, only 5% of all physics degrees were earned by women.

Today, there are still few women in STEM fields. There isn’t much room in the sciences to think about race, gender, and sexual orientation. Difference is not valued.

Although I received prestigious industry awards and research grants, over time I found I was more inspired by teaching and getting kids excited about science. I learned this from Sally Ride.

After her phenomenal career,  she established Sally Ride Science to inspire children by creating fun and engaging science class materials. She had already done so much. She could have stopped years ago. But, she took one last bold step. She came out to the public through her obituary.

In doing so, she has sent a beacon to all that are different that they can reach for the stars, because she did. In her passing, she has given us all a map to the final frontier. But it is not outer space, but rather our own inner truth.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Ainissa G. Ramirez.

Posted by
Filed under: Gender • Sexual orientation • What we think • Women
soundoff (136 Responses)
  1. Samir

    Went to Cincinnati stop & were happy overall. Only comialpnt were lighting issues & sound so loud at times, one really couldn't hear the melody. I don't know how the dancers keep from getting headaches. Now, the show: We liked the less chatter format, but thought there should have been moments where dancers could be properly applauded before another pair launched into their duo. We were happy that there were no all stars: Ricky really stepped up in a couple of those roles. Melanie, beautiful, of course. Our most impressive dancer: Jess. He was not only electric, with a great connection to the audience, but is so technically skilled. Seems like there wasn't a moment or part of him that wasn't dancing, head to toe. It was hard not to watch him in group numbers and he was in a LOT of them. Most dancers had great moments here & there. Other than numbed eardrums, our experience was excellent. Before next year, the lighting/sound crew need to be sent for more training.

    October 13, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. icon archive

    At me a similar situation. Let's discuss.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. eroteme

    How unfortunate that we now have a lesbian role model for the young girls of America to idolize.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin Blankinship

      Maybe a lesbian role model to lesbian girls. But the notion of 'role model' is overrated and actually quite dumb. Personalities are generally formed by interaction with the parents or close relatives. Perhaps a better term than 'role model' should be 'hero.' For some reason, Americans don't like that word nowadays. It implies faith in something or someone.

      August 18, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Antony Scalia

    1) Sally Ride DIED of pancreatic cancer.
    2) Pancreatic cancer is most often associated with ALCOHOLISM.
    3) ALCOHOLISM IS MOST OFTEN AMONG THE AFFLUENT, WHICH SALLY RIDE **CERTAINLY** WAS, since she BRAGGED ABOUT herself, her family's political connections, etc.
    4) THEREFORE, HER PAST CAUGHT UP WITH HER.

    LETS SEE THE **AUTOPSY REPORT** BEFORE CALLING HER A "HERO" OR ANYTHING ELSE.

    August 7, 2012 at 6:41 am | Report abuse |
    • spock

      This is wrong on so many levels.

      August 7, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Kevin Blankinship

    I don't think Sally Ride would make a good role model, primarily because of her lack of modesty. She would say things like she was picked for her flight because she was the best. She was from an affluent well-connected family, the daughter of a university president, so there was little that she had to overcome; she always could have anything she wanted. In an oligarchic age like the present, one may extol her as the scion of Peter Drucker's 'knowledge-worker' class or Charles Murray's 'cognitive elite.' But she is not at all a good example of modesty.

    August 4, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Caroline

    YES, she was a role model, by keeping her 'gay-ness' to herself. She did not feel compelled to flaunt it. She didn't force it on everyone. That is how she was a role model, and I wish many others would follow her lead!

    August 3, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. DJ

    A role model for children? A lesbian role model for children? Yeah..... I want a role model like that for my children.

    July 27, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • ronjayaz

      It's not for ALL kids just ones who are tortured and bullied when they go to school. Get it?

      July 27, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • rumple

      ALL of her accomplishments blown since it was announced she was lesbien!

      July 29, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
      • ronjayaz

        Not at all. It was calling her "courageous" "a model" etc. that caused the outcry! And lesbian is spelled as shown. Obviously U know nothing abt the subject.

        July 31, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joel

    I love how the liberal media wants to get into everyone's bedroom. Stay out! Who cares what people do in their bedrooms. You libs are out of control!

    July 27, 2012 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
    • spock

      Funny, I always ask the same thing about the GOP. They are more focused your genitals than anything else.

      August 7, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Carolyn Ellis

    Sally Ride was a great American and a great woman. Because she was a lesbian does not subtract the least little bit from her greatness. I am glad she had a life partner to share all of her wonderful achievements with. We will miss her

    July 26, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bee

    Obviously, those who knew her knew about her orientation. She was married briefly to a male astronaut. It must have been difficult for her, to say the least, in that male-dominated culture, needing the have the "right stuff" and all that crap! She has been and will remain a role model for girls who want to reach for the stars.

    July 26, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • mark

      Oh how horrible, she was married to a icky man.

      July 29, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. TiredODaCrap

    Having read through it a few times, I cannot help but take from the context of the article that Sally Ride is a role model because she was gay. At least, that's how I read it based on the statement's location in her article. How is "the first American woman in space" any less inspirational than "the first gay American woman in space"?
    Gay girls can't have straight women role models? Straight girls can't have gay women role models? I thought that was the point of all the news and demands to be treated equally. Is it not?

    July 26, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • TiredODaCrap

      Sorry – the site seemed as if it did not take my first post. My bad on areas that were similar.

      July 26, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • mark

      As usual the media milks the gay issue for every drop.

      July 29, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. John

    She was a good person to some and maybe not to others. In the good book she is an abomination. Have a good day.

    July 26, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • woodie

      I doubt Jesus would agree with you.

      July 26, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • David Wallenstein, MD

      If Dr. Ride is an "abomination" according to your "good book", maybe you should turn it in for a more accurately written edition!

      July 27, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • rah

      god makes no mistakes. she was not an abomination.

      August 2, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. TiredODaCrap

    The author states she's "a role model". The context makes it sound as if she is a role model because she came out. How is this? How was she not a role model for being the first American woman in space? Funny that there is an outcry against the exclusionary position made against the gay community, but it's OK to be exclusionary in support of it? Interesting?

    July 26, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jackie

    Does it really matter, she was a human being, who had great accomplishments and inspired many. Does not make me feel any different about becouse of who she slept with. If she wanted her privacy that was hers to keep and no one elses to expose. I am glad she's not here to see it happen.

    July 26, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Pioneer

    What a spectacular scientist, educator, pilot, philosopher, space-traveler, and visionary you were; a pioneer in many respects, both professionally and personally. Soar away, Sally, and take your place among the stars.

    July 26, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  16. PumpNDump

    Nobody cares.

    July 26, 2012 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Leo

      Obviously, somebody does. In fact, a lot of people do. Which is why so many people are reading and commenting on this article. Care to make any other blatantly false comments?

      July 26, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      I care ... a great deal. I was personally saddened by the news of SR passing. For some of us in the country, what happens with NASA has always been important. That Sally Ride was "gay" is totally irrelevant. The fact that she was a person of strong character is really what matters, not what some Teabagging Holier Than Thou P'taK says.

      August 2, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  17. AGuest9

    "I was surprised to learn of her passing on Monday. I was even more surprised to learn that she was a lesbian."

    Wow, really? I had her pegged while she was still married to a man.

    July 26, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
    • David Wallenstein, MD

      Really? And could you kindly share with us your criteria for "pegging" Ride as a lesbian?

      July 27, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  18. Matthew Kilburn

    No wonder she kept it private. She has all these accomplishments in her life, dies tragically young, and now all the media can think about is what gender she liked to sleep with. Talk about disservicing the dead.

    Clearly, Dr. Ride was a model individual, not least because she was able to draw a clear distinction between her public and private lives, and didn't walk around demanding the rest of society condone or support her personal lifestyle choices.

    July 26, 2012 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Edwin

      Agreed. She accomplished many things - her orientation should not even make the news.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
      • David Wallenstein, MD

        Although they are different issues, would you also assert that, upon his election in 2008, President Obama's race was not news worthy? How about Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's gender, when she was appointed to The Supreme Court? I assume that didn't matter either?

        July 27, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
      • Michael

        Dr. Wallenstein, if that is indeed your real name ...If they are indeed separate issues (Sally Ride being gay versus the president being half black) then why bring it up? Granted what follows is strictly my opinion, but the passing of Sally Ride and politics shoud not merge at all ... oil and water, methinks ...

        August 2, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Howard

    How can the author (Ms. Ramirez) be certain that newspaper notice was Ms. Ride's choice? In nearly all cases, it's the handiwork of a close family member and may or may not reflect the wishes of the deceased.

    July 26, 2012 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  20. RobK

    Really? You believe that she's a role model because you think that she is a lesbian?

    July 26, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Edwin

      I think she was a role model because she was an astronaut, a scientist, and a science educator. Who cares about her orientation?

      July 26, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
      • RobK

        She was a good role model in many respects, but perhaps not in all. Just like most people.

        July 26, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  21. RobK

    When Jesus comes back, every knee shall bow and acknowledge that he is Lord. Then the sheep shall be separated from the goats, and the latter shall go to everlasting perdition.

    July 26, 2012 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
    • AGuest9

      Because the sheeple believe in this "Jesus"?

      July 26, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
    • ronjayaz

      What religious crap to quote Jesus, whose message, as I remember it, was to love thy neighbor as thy self. And Judge not unless U shall not be judged. It's even more religious crap that there's a Heaven and a Hell. I'd love to know where that wud be in the universe.

      July 26, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • truth and beauty

        The riigh wing evangalicals are not true follower of Christ. They are the real anti-Christ preaching hatred and intolerance and nationalism in the Name of Christ. They are not even wolves in sheep chothing....they are just wolves making a mockery of everyting Christ stood for. They are the tools of the devil.

        July 29, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • mark

      And when exactly will that be?

      July 29, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • truth and beauty

      Yes....and it will be the right wing evangelicals, with all their hypocracy and hatred and pride that will burn in perdition.
      "There will be many in that day who will say: did we not preach in your name, ...." and Jesus will say: "I do not know you."
      Won't those hypocrites be surprised! Wow.

      July 29, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      When (or IF) that happens, you'll see me standing with my back straight. I refuse to bow to some supernatural semi-luminous being that wants my money. Prove it, bucko ... without using the terms "faith" and "bible" ... go ahead ... I'm waiting ... with baited breath ...

      August 2, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  22. rollotape

    ..as you age your ideas become softer...life is short..live to be happy while you are here....

    July 26, 2012 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
  23. Castle

    So wouldn't it have been more brave to "come out" BEFORE she died?

    July 26, 2012 at 7:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Sara

      I loved it! I was a bit worried when I saw how pkcead in the floor seats were. My mom and I were second row of the second section in the middle with no one in front of us. Luckily we're both tall enough to see over section one, but I'm sure the people behind us were super annoyed with the seating. The show in and of itself was amazing! Melanie was breathtaking!!! She's been my favorite since auditions and seeing her perform live was so exciting! Other standouts would have to be Caitlynn, Tadd, and Ricky! Everyone was so great though!!!I had an amazing experience!!! Go Season 8!!!!

      November 17, 2012 at 2:00 am | Report abuse |
  24. epluribus

    Why glorify perversion

    July 26, 2012 at 7:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      There is nothing wrong about disliking people's lifestyle choices.

      July 26, 2012 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
      • Fatcap

        Just saw the show in Fairfax, VA. The dancing was INCREDIBLE; Melanie's solo was beoynd amazing; the transitions and integrating of numbers were fantastic. However, I agree with the above posts that talk about the BLINDING lights and LOUD music. I don't understand why producers aren't taking this feedback and fixing the problem. It is taking away from the great dancing. Clearly, I'm not the only one who felt the music and lights were a major issue. Take note, SYTYCD, and please make the appropriate changes!

        November 17, 2012 at 2:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Ranger14

      How about respecting them for waht they are: God's children.

      July 26, 2012 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
      • rah

        yep, we need to love each other

        August 2, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tuckersdad

      Eating pork is a "perversion" as is eating shellfish, men cutting their hair and women wearing garments made of different fibers. So what exactly is your point?

      July 26, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  25. DB

    Is it time to say, "Who cares?" The woman lived her life the way she wanted to live it and that is that. She did not feel the need to go against the grian and announce anything that was her own personal business. She did not participate in rubbing everyones nose in a subject that make some people cringe. She was herself, lived her life, and left her legacy without the need to exploite a trivial aspect of her life.

    July 26, 2012 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan I.

      Hmmm kind of like the evangelicals who take it upon themselves to condemn entire groups of people publicly. Who insist on having their religious doctrine codified into law (hey...isn't that what Sharia is?). I know they make ME cringe, so why are they rubbing it in my face.

      July 26, 2012 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
    • ReaganDem

      You completely missed the point of the article. who she was and what she was about.

      July 26, 2012 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
  26. Dennis

    Her obit acknowledges and respects her partner, nothing more.

    July 26, 2012 at 6:56 am | Report abuse |
    • David Wallenstein, MD

      Finally, a voice of sanity!

      July 27, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  27. Triple A

    Bold step?? It is old news. The rest of us are tired of listening to this crap. She was a fine person, an achiever and someone to look up to. As to her personal life, she lived it, no fan fare, No poor me, no in your face I can kiss in front of Chick Fillet... She lived her personal life as everyones should be to herself, that is what is right regardless of your preference. People knew, however you couldn't let it go at. If she were alive today I believe you would be receiving a phone call and she wouldn't be none to happy you using her personal life for your own writing/political gain.

    July 26, 2012 at 5:54 am | Report abuse |
    • ReaganDem

      Who is the rest of us?

      July 26, 2012 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
      • Daisy

        Went to show in Rosemont last night. It was our fifth time at the tour. We were very disappointed. So sorry for the dneracs, they are all so good but the lights are blaring and interfered with the performances. We brought earplugs because one year we went to United Center and it was too loud although Bradley Center in Milwaukee was not too loud all of the other years. We were towards the back on the first balcony and the music was still too loud for us. It was terrible! We also did not like the lack of interaction with the audience as in earlier years, it made the show very impersonal. Between that and the lighting we were constantly trying to figure out who the dneracs were since the big screens were of little help. I'm afraid we are done. We will not be returning. LIke others we were looking forward to Marco and Melanie's dance where he was a groom left at the alter and they kissed at the end. Such a shame!

        October 15, 2012 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
  28. aawriter

    Who cares? What difference does it make what her sexual orientation was? We live in an age where there is an excessive amount of TMI. Whether Dr. Ride made the consciious decision of whether to make an announcement of her preferences or not really doesn't matter. Whatever happened to privacy??

    July 26, 2012 at 3:23 am | Report abuse |
    • T Lavoie

      Many of you are asking "who cares?"

      For one, I expect her partner does. Her partner, who has lost the love of her life and who can not receive Sally's death benefits, because people who don't care also don't fight to make their marriage legal. Meanwhile, other people ARE fighting, to make sure that people like Sally's partner known they are second-class citizens, not worthy of nthe same rights and privileges they themselves are.

      This is why we care. We care because conservatives and religious right and apathetic people like yourselves ENSURE that "partners" are not allowed the same status and benefits as "spouses". Even though allowing such benefits will do absolutely no harm to you.

      July 26, 2012 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
      • David Wallenstein, MD

        Well said! Amen (in the best sense of that exclamation)!

        July 27, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  29. aawriter

    Who cares? I'm so sick of people needing to be idenitified by their sexual orientation. Whatever happened to privacy in someone's life. Not everything has to be a statement or aired for public opinion. We are in an age of excessive TMI, and there are plenty of us who just don't care to know everything about everybody.

    July 26, 2012 at 3:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      Agree.

      July 26, 2012 at 7:14 am | Report abuse |
    • mark

      The media loves gay. It really sells.

      July 29, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Mike P

    Why should we consider someone's coming out a "gift"? Gee, thanks for letting us know the world was a little less perfect than we thought it was! Can't beat that for a gift.

    Seriously, I don't celebrate when somebody comes out. I mourn. I feel bad for that person. Who in their right mind wouldn't? So what was the point of sharing? Seems a little like pulling the pin and lobbing the grenade, if you ask me. "Now that I'm dead, discuss!" Thanks, but no thanks. Could have done without this.

    July 26, 2012 at 3:05 am | Report abuse |
  31. Jim

    I don't understand your comment. Sally Ride was married to a man, although they divorced. I feel sorry for him if this is the first he has heard of it. I know you are using being gay as an insult. Although I am straight, I did not insult anyone with my comment.

    July 26, 2012 at 2:59 am | Report abuse |
  32. saneCanadian

    If you didn't know Sally was a lesbian your gaydar is on the fritz.

    July 26, 2012 at 2:54 am | Report abuse |
  33. Ann

    How did she hide? By not calling a press conference to "announce" that she was a lesbian? She was just living her life. You don't need to announce EVERYTHING to the world; you just live. People will figure it out...or not.

    July 26, 2012 at 2:48 am | Report abuse |
  34. No....

    This woman did not have the childish need to 'come out'. She was not defined by her sexuality. I respect her for that.

    July 26, 2012 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
  35. Carole

    Whether Sally Ride was homosexual or heterosexual is not important. It is her legacy that is important.

    July 26, 2012 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
  36. Observer

    For those claiming to know that Sally DIDN'T agree to releasing the information:

    Sally Ride has known for a long time that her life would end soon. Please state how you know that she didn't agree to this announcement before she died.

    July 26, 2012 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      So no answer. Expected that.

      She was obviously concerned about what people with small minds would say.

      July 26, 2012 at 2:07 am | Report abuse |
  37. Felix

    Gift? What gift? What to people want now for declaring that theyre gay, a plaque? Knighthood? Sainthood? She did what she did..who cares about her sexual preferance ..I frankly dont care and dont want to know. Im a heterosexual , but who cares about that..unless in the near future we will all have to declare our sexual preferance

    July 26, 2012 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
  38. John Hillman

    Amazing that an "educated" woman can be this wrong. Sally Ride had nothing to do with the obituary. It was filed by LIVING persons.

    Sally Ride kept her PERSONAL life PERSONAL. Why does the "National Enquirer" mentality infect even the Phd's in the press? Everyone wants "THE STORY".

    Thanks for lowering yourself to the level of Rupert Murdock CNN

    July 26, 2012 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
    • jessica

      Sally knew that she was dying. She probably helped write her obit as many terminal people do.

      July 26, 2012 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
  39. ronjayaz

    None of the comments above recognize the history of homosexuality in the US. Until 1972 it was a mental disease as declared by the APA until the DSM was revised. It has always been a crime to be a homosexual in the US, meaning that every gay person is born a criminal since gayness begins at conception. As a NASA employee she probably was terrified by being outed except the obvious confidences. However, during the DADT debate her coming out wud have been great news for all gay kids and the military closeted gays-forced to be so or be dishonorably discharged.

    July 26, 2012 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
  40. Joel-B

    I made a negative comment on the internet the day Sally died, about the "Tam" thing.. I couldn't be more sorry, because who am I to judge anyone ???!!! Sincerely, may God bless you Sally, and may He forgive me for my transgressions .... And my sincere apology to Tam and Sally's family...

    July 26, 2012 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
    • David

      Who hasn't said something that they regret to someone sometime in their life. Forgive yourself.

      July 26, 2012 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Dover

      Calm down. God does not monitor CNN

      July 26, 2012 at 1:48 am | Report abuse |
  41. miketofdal

    Ride, Sally Ride.

    July 25, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • John W.

      How many more times will we have to read this obvious and lame joke?

      July 26, 2012 at 5:16 am | Report abuse |
  42. gmenfan54

    So Sally Ride was bi-sexual. Big deal.

    July 25, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Newmoon2

    Dr. Ride chose to keep her private life private says to me she wanted her public accomplishments to be what defined her to the public. I'm certain her friends and family would tell you about Sally, the private person and I'll wager that being a lesbian was not her defining trait for them, either. Being a lesbian was part of who she was, but I'm sure it was not what defined her as a person.

    July 25, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Michael E. Mouse, Esq.

    Surprised she was a lesbian. Woman, where have you been, under a rock?

    July 25, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
  45. oN a magIC CaRpet riDe

    The final ride... we all got it coming ...embrace the possibility!

    July 25, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • John W.

      You just said it; we all got it coming - so, it's not a "possibility." Poem failure.

      July 26, 2012 at 5:17 am | Report abuse |
      • Kathy

        John, possibilty meaning whatever happens after death. It's a philosophical end and poetic.

        July 26, 2012 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
  46. Adam

    Sally Ride was a hero because she was an astronaut. Not because she was a lesbian. Why does the author romanticize being black or lesbian? Why don't you do something because YOU want to do it and you have the inner drive and passion to accomplish it. I studied hard and trained hard and beat out thousands of other applicants for the job I have...it had nothing to do with other people in my career field being white, Mexican, Asian, Hispanic, black, male, female, gay, lesbian, transgender, etc. I don't care who was doing it, I did it because it was my dream and passion.

    July 25, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • jessica

      @Adam, LGBT kids don't have many role models. Maybe a few more will help show them that life does get better.

      July 26, 2012 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Dover

      Actually you make a lot of sense. A person should be proud of their accomplishments. Skin color and sexual orientation are not accomplishments. I have nothing against either but that would be like me bragging because I have green eyes. Stupid.

      July 26, 2012 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
  47. JeffinAlaska

    She was awesome for many things, but I appreciate that she didn't feel the need to throw her sexuality into peoples faces. You're a lesbian? Well woopy for you! Who gives a rats tale? She was an astronaut! She was brilliant! Who cares who she chose to share her bed with. Just so you all know, being gay doesn't in of itself make you special......

    July 25, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Corb

    As a man, if I get a sex change operation and still date women, does that make me a lesbian? I'm so confused.

    July 25, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • ronjayaz

      Transgender is not the issue here even though it comes under the LGBT label.

      July 26, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Rachie

    I'm glad it was revealed at Sally Ride's death that she was a lesbian but it would have been much more courageous if she'd come out during her life. She was a huge role model for young women all over the USA but she could have been so much more. As the first woman in space, quite a historical monument, she also could have been the first lesbian in space and spoken to a completely different audience.

    July 25, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Enkaye

    Her amazing life speaks for itself. It says, as has been said so many times before, that in this country, no matter what your race, gender, sexual orientation, or handicap, one can achieve anything one wants to achieve. Does anything else really matter?

    July 25, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Kat

    Sally didn't come out or share anything. She was outed through her obituary. Not exactly the same thing. She was a very private person; her personal life was just that...personal. She will be missed for all of the contributions she made.

    July 25, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Shecky

    Oh please.
    Who CARES if she was a lesbian??????
    This article is RIDICULOUS.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • beadlesaz

      Well said.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jacksonville, FL

      It's actually very very important to a lot of people. Discrimination is alive and well in this country and when people are honest about who they are it makes a difference. Thank you Sally!!

      July 25, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  53. ronjayaz

    "Sally Ride is a role model." I dont think so. She'd have been a "model" if she came out a long. long time ago. I didnt learn she was a Les till I read her obit and wasnt certain till I read this article. She was a hero as the first female astronaut but she was a coward as Lesbian. Cut the sentimental crap!

    July 25, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • beadlesaz

      The stupidity of your comment is beyond belief.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
      • ronjayaz

        Yours is even more beyond belief since U cudnt articulate Y? Ad hominem attacks are not permitted among rational people.

        July 25, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • Yames

        Agreed!

        July 25, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • beadlesaz

      There is no way Dr. Ride could have lived her life openly as a gay while in the NASA program. And, how do any of us know that she didn't live her life openly since then? I'll bet her family and friends knew. That's would be all that mattered. How would the rest of us have known? Was she supposed to have a press conference, become a spokesperson for LGBT, whatever? How many of you criticizing her have thought – much less read – about her in the last 15 years? Dr. Ride had a *mission* in her life and she pursued it: getting young students interested in science. She would have been a fierce advocate for the LGBT community had she pursued that cause – but it would have been at the expense of her science education program. She made a choice – and, by God, she was entitled to do that and to be proud of her accomplishments. We do nothing but disrespect her with all this crap.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • olorinstaff

      Maybe it was none of your business.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • ronjayaz

        A public figure is everyone's busy.

        July 25, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kat

      She was a coward as a lesbian? Maybe she was just a person who thought her personal life was just that...personal. It's nobody else's business.

      July 25, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  54. NJB Chicago

    Will someone please tell me why this is news??? "She came out publicly through her obituary." She did? I thought she passed away. Has anyone told this author that Sally didn't write her own obituary? Why not let this wonderful woman die the way that she lived her life. Privately. Had she wanted the world to know she would have come out when she was alive. She obviously didn't. Doesn't mean she was ashamed of her life. Doesn't mean that in death she was an activist like this author. Why do activists try to make EVERYTHING about people 'who are different'. Doesn't she realize that ALL OF US ARE DIFFERENT and ALL OF US HAVE STRUGGLES. Being gay doesn't mean that you have more struggles than the man or woman standing next to you. Give it a break. Let people be people. Let them live their lives in the manner that they want. As long as they don't hurt anyone else, who cares? This is nothing more than an opportunity for the author to advance HER causes, not necessarily Sally Rides. Shameful. Not a way to honor her life.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • ronjayaz

      The article implied she was a hero. She wasnt a private person. Every girl who admired her left the 2nd most important fact abt her.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • olorinstaff

        I think this was the least important thing about her.

        July 25, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • Kat

        She left out the second most important fact? Her personal lifestyle is nobody's business...and neither is anyone else's.

        July 25, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • Yames

        To call Sally Ride a "coward" is about the most "cowardly" thing you could say as a lesbian. According to you, maintaining her privacy until her death was the cowardly thing to do. Too bad you can't seem to respect the privacy of others. When you consider her career and her position within NASA, it would not have served "anyone" had she "come out" any earlier. Also, show some damn respect.....for chrissakes!

        July 25, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • beadlesaz

      NJB – We don't even know that she was already *out* do we? I'll bet her family and friends knew. How would the rest of us have known? Guess she could have held a press conference at some point.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • Yames

        The comment above should read Agreed, beadlesaz!

        July 25, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
      • ronjayaz

        Ellen Degeneres diid! In fact it was a front cover from TIME. I shud add her coming out during the DADT debate wud have shut a lot of people up. Public professionals that announce their gayness are heroes to kids are gay and afraid. Outing yorself as a professional is in my opinion the most courageous thing a person can do.

        July 26, 2012 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
      • beadlesaz

        Thanks, Yames. I really shouldn't have been so rude to ronjayaz but his calling her a coward hit by *temper button* full force. I'll bet her family & friends knew her orientation. She could have been a crusader for gay rights – she'd have been awesome. But, she chose to focus on getting kids interested in science. Unfortunately, the former cause would have greatly diminished her success in the latter. And, ultimately, her personal life is nobody else's business.

        July 26, 2012 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
      • Takeshi

        there should have been some means of aogncwledking who was dancing in new numbers. My friend was gushing over how well Marko did with Melanie in the Broadway number and was surprised when I told her it was actually Jess. These dancers deserve at least a moment or two of audience appreciation all of them. I did like the blending of dances into a more theatrical experience, but did not like the new pair coming out before one pair finished. Again, no chance to applaud. We were smitten by Ricky and Jess, even though we went in as girl-focused favorites. Those two were phenomenal, esp. Energizer Bunny Jess. Overall, great show.

        October 15, 2012 at 3:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Sandy

      NJB Chicago...Brilliant common sense! Thank You! Nice to know others out there are are unbiased thinkers!

      July 25, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
      • beadlesaz

        Sandy – and too few of the unbiased thinkers!

        July 26, 2012 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
      • ronjayaz

        I've herd of intelligence as being brilliant but common sense? Come on, now.

        July 26, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerri

      There was no need for her to "come out". It's just who she was; nothing to sound a trumpet about. She was a brilliant scientist and a very nice, modest seeming woman. My office was down the corridor from hers at UCSD and she was an amazing person whom I admired very much. Who she loved during her life doesn't change one thing she accomplished, except that it probably made life more wonderful for her. Let her rest in peace!

      July 25, 2012 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
      • beadlesaz

        Jerri – agreed!

        July 26, 2012 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Catherine

      Actually Ms. Ride & her partner drafter her obituary together before her death...she fought cancer for 17 months, it wasn't as if she suddenly died in a car accident unexpectedly. She chose to come out publicly through her obituary. Do a little more research before you spout something off as fact.

      July 25, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • ronjayaz

        Coming out in yor obit is not coming out since yor dead already & dont have to face the "embarrassment."

        July 26, 2012 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
    • LivinginVA

      How do you know she didn't write her obit? Many people do.

      July 26, 2012 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
      • beadlesaz

        LivinginVA – And, if you have pancreatic cancer you have a pretty good indicator that the obit is going to be needed sooner rather than latter. As *Catherine* pointed out – apparently Sally & Tam worked on the obit together.

        July 26, 2012 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
  55. Leonore H. Dvorkin

    I wish she had come out earlier as a lesbian. But better late than never. It's very sad to think that this revelation may well dim her reputation in the small minds of prejudiced people. Thanks for this tribute.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kat

      She didn't come out at all...it was done for her after she died. Only small-minded people will think less of her.

      July 25, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |