Main | Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sally Ride Outed In Obituary

When I first posted yesterday's notice of pioneering astronaut Sally Ride's death, some readers immediately seized upon the mention of her "partner of 27 years." Last night Buzzfeed reporter Chris Geidner spoke to Ride's sister, who confirmed that Ride was indeed a lesbian.
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. Terry McEntee, a spokeswoman from Sally Ride Science, the company Ride formed to provide educational materials and programs for schools, confirmed to BuzzFeed that there had not, to her knowledge, previously been published acknowledgment of Ride and O'Shaugnessy's relationship.
Later last night Twitter users lamented.

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