QUESTION: Should The Gay Community Be Outing Sally Ride?

Welcome to The Queerty Query, where we raise questions and ask you, the readers, to weigh in. Sometimes the questions will be funny, sometimes they’ll be serious—it all depends what the chatter around the water cooler is.

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When Sally Ride passed away earlier this week, most of us learned for the first time that she was a lesbian. In the days since, though, she’s posthumously become a role model, a poster child and a flashpoint.

Should The Gay Community Be Outing Sally Ride?

Ride helped write her own obituary, in which she revealed her 27-year relationship with partner Tam O’Shaughnessy, so it’s not like she wanted her sexuality to be some big secret. But she chose not to stand up as a gay activist—she never spoke at an HRC dinner,  never marched in a protest against DOMA, never recorded an It Gets Better Video. Of course she may have been active in her local community, but no reports have surfaced. “She was just a private person who wanted to do things her way. She hated labels (including ‘hero’),” wrote Ride’s sister, Bear.

Not that Sally Ride had any obligation to be an activist. Being a pioneer for 51% of the world’s population is a pretty big step in its own right.

Still, that hasn’t stopped members of the LGBT community from using Ride as a focal point in the struggle for equality.  The fact that O’Shaughnessy won’t receive death benefits has popped up on status updates and placards almost immediately. Many are acting as if Ride’s posthumous coming-out means we broke another barrier—the first gay in space.

“What a shame that we didn’t learn this while she was alive,” HRC spokesman Fred Sainz said. “However, the fact it was acknowledged in death will be an incredibly powerful message to all Americans about the contributions of their LGBT counterparts.”

Do we even know if Ride wanted to send a powerful message? Should we be using her death as a political tool? And if the person didn’t talk about their sexuality, what message does that send to all Americans?

There’s no definitive answer, of course, but we’re throwing it out to you, Queerty readers: Should Sally Ride’s privacy be respected or is the personal always political? And is she even a good candidate showing society what LGBT people can achieve?

Launch your responses in the comments section.

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  • jeff4justice

    All public figures are fair to scrutinize. Free speech.

  • timncguy

    Of course your headline, as usual, is completely inaccurate. “Should the gay community be be outing Sally Ride?”.

    The gay community didn’t out her and can’t out her now. She “outed” herself in her own obituary just as you state in your article.

  • Ted B. (Charging Rhino)

    What happening is not an issue of privacy, it’s whether is appropriate or proper to use a public figure’s name, face and reputation posthumously to support and issue that the individual clearly choose not to be involved with. The ad above being a good example. Ms. Ride never consented to the use of her name or image. Would she have publicly-supported the message? She chose not-to in-life, yet now her image…and reputation…is being-used supporting it after her death.

    Unless Ms. O’Shaughnessy or Ms. Ride’s estate approved this use, I think it’s inappropriate.

  • Belize

    “And if the person didn’t talk about their sexuality, what message does that send to all Americans?”

    That not everyone is should to feel arrogant and self-entitled over something as private as who they’d want to fuck. She was a public figure because of her venture into space–that will not change whether or not she wanted to venture into another woman’s vagina. To think that her sexual preference has anything to do with her capacity to deal with the things she dealt as the “first American woman on space” is, more or less, an enforcement of the butch lesbian stereotype.

  • Belize

    Where’s Colin? By now he should be pointing out a questionable LGBT community act that its opponents have been guilty of for years. That kid might lose his/her job as Chick-Fil-A’s latest mouthpiece.

  • Greg

    Of course. Out here. Public figures have no right to privacy. None.

  • Greg

    * her

  • Michael DeSelms

    @timncguy: I totally agree. Even her own family mentions Tam. Her living was private. Her death needs to remain the same.

  • ScaryRussianHeather

    the question would be more logical if it were accurate. She outed herself so it seems to me she wanted everyone to finally know and discuss it after her death.

    Furthermore, she did alot more with that than a Freddie Mercury who avoided coming out publicly before his death in 1991.

    He released a sterile “Yes I have aids” statement the day before his death, no public mention of his sexuality. At that time, a plea for funding, research and support for LGBT people would have done alot for the community. It was NOT unheard of to be openly gay in 1991. Elton John came out in 1988. Harvey Milk was out for forever FFS. Yes he was an introvert, and yes some people assumed it but it is WAY DIFFERENT than Sally Ride’s finally showing America that their “heros” are not always hetero.

    In 1992 AIDS became the No.1 killer of US men ages 25 to 44. 1991 had Magic Johnson announcing his pos status and that kid Ryan White dying so who knows. Maybe he actually thought it would hurt gay men to say anything about it. But I doubt it.

    Good for Sally Ride for accepting and promoting that she’d forever be known as the lesbian astronaut even if she didn’t want that label during life.

  • Michael DeSelms

    What the F**k? She didn’t out herself!!! She didn’t write the obituary. Her family did. Her living was private. Her death should have remained the same. Let us keep her partner, Tam, in our prayers. Let us keep the rest of their story as private as Sally wanted.

  • mc

    @Michael DeSelms: The article said she wrote her own obituary so it does seem she outed herself. If she didn’t want it known she wouldn’t have put in the part about her partner of 27 years in her obituary.

  • Analog

    As others have said, she outed herself so the question is based on a false premise.

  • KW

    I can think of no more reprehensible practice than outing someone against their will. How is it any different to discussing the size of their genitals, their sexual performance, or other issues that are for them and their partner/s to know and everyone else else to keep their noses out of?

    The fact that a person is a public figure makes no difference. Even nauseating self publicists like Beckham, any Kardassian or Tom Cruise still have the right to that level of privacy because sexuality is not on the table unless they choose to put it there.

    There only exceptions are:
    If a person uses privacy to persecute their own sexuality
    If a person hurts others in sexual areas

  • Geri

    Question to QUEERTY. Is it this the Gay Community or the LGBT Community?

    If Sally Ride hated labels why are you labeling her a lesbian?

    What proof do you have that she was exclusively attracted to women?

    What proof do you even have that she was ever attracted to more than woman?

    What proof do you have that Sally Ride was at no point attracted to, or in love with, the man she married in 1982 and subsequently divorced in 1987?

    When are members of the “Gay Community” going to stop annoying the sh*t out of the “Bisexual Community” and stop supporting the monosexist, heteronormative sexual fascism which supports and maintains the oppression and ghettoization of all same-sex loving people?

  • Dan Avery

    @timncguy: I used the term “outing” to mean promoting Ride’s sexuality. Given all the media attention to her death, I assumed people knew I wasn’t referring to a traditional “outing,” though you could make the case that publicizing someone is a lesbian when they clearly kept that private (if not secret) is a kind of outing.

    It was just the constraints of short headlines that led me to be a little vague, not an attempt at misleading readers.

  • ldfrmc

    The question and headline should be:

    Should a survivor (spouse, partner, family) submit an obituary stating what was the truth about a person’s life, how they want the person remembered and have that printed, unchanged?


    The “gay community” (whatever that is?!) and the press, and any group of people, should not censor or “out” or do anything else except acknowledge what is printed – the truth.

    Sally’s legacy is an inspiration – professional work, accomplishments, personal life. I’m sure she was not the first, or last, “gay person in space.” She did what she did because she was a human being with exceptional drive, ambition and hard work. That’s worth remembering and celebrating.

  • Enkidu

    @jeff4justice: This isn’t a legal question, and we aren’t in Harry Potter world. “Free speech” is not a magic spell that absolves the speaker of the consequences or ethical implications of his speech.

  • Enkidu

    And no, the gay community should not have outed her—but the gay community didn’t out her. She outed herself. Total non-issue.

  • Enkidu

    @Dan Avery: Thanks for clarifying. I don’t think it’s appropriate to use a very private part of her life to make political statements after she’s in the ground. If her partner wants to do this, then she has my support.

  • Cam

    Is the author insane?

    She WROTE HER OWN OBITUARY! SHE OUTED HERSELF. The author is now attacking the gay community for mentioning this?

    So I guess he would rather we just hide people in the closet even when THEY THEMSELVES want to come out.

  • Cam

    @Dan Avery: said..

    “@timncguy: I used the term “outing” to mean promoting Ride’s sexuality. Given all the media attention to her death, I assumed people knew I wasn’t referring to a traditional “outing,” though you could make the case that publicizing someone is a lesbian when they clearly kept that private (if not secret) is a kind of outing.”

    Because you feel that the fact that she was gay or had a long term loving relationship with her partner is shameful and must be hidden away like a dirty secret?

  • KW

    @Enkidu: ““Free speech” is not a magic spell that absolves the speaker of the consequences or ethical implications of his speech.”

    Very nicely put Enkidu!

  • timncguy

    @Dan Avery: ” I assumed people knew I wasn’t referring to a traditional “outing,” though you could make the case that publicizing someone is a lesbian when they clearly kept that private (if not secret) is a kind of outing.”

    You cannot make the case that it is “outing” when Ride herself is the one who stopped the secrecy with her self written obituary. Period. Besides, “outing” is a very specialized term with a very specific meaning.

    “It was just the constraints of short headlines that led me to be a little vague, not an attempt at misleading readers.”

    The headline you should have written, which is no longer than the one you did write, is

    “Should the gay community be capitalizing on Sally Ride’s sexual orientation”

  • Chris

    @Dan Avery: Then you shouldn’t have used the term “outing” if that’s not what you meant. Your job is to find the correct word.
    Regardless, that entire comment is based on something completely false, that she kept her life “secret”. While she was alive, yes. But, She wrote her own obituary, so she decided it should come out after her death. According to interviews with her family she was aware that it would be newsworthy after her death. 5 minutes of actual research will tell you that. so the entire question, article, and headline is done in a misleading way…and more importantly, you know it.

  • Nate Hill

    Usually, anyone who is not “OUT” is out to those close to them. It’s only those on the DL that don’t want to be known as gay…to anyone.

    The reason those in the public eye, as with those who aren’t, don’t want the world to know, is because of the bigotry, hate and lack of legal protection that gays face every day. This is not a burden in death. Those who even ASK the question if Sally should have been “outed” know that this mass disapproval is out there. THIS is what needs to change, not the fact that an individual wants to openly acknowledge who they love.

    This question alone just sickens me as to how sick our society is about the issue of being gay.

  • DrewSF

    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 job the done. Her personal feelings were just that: personal. Not right or wrong — simply Sally. Everyone who knows her well really got that about her.”

    Bear, a gay Presbyterian minister, takes a different approach.

    “I’m a rather out-there advocate for LGBT [lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender] rights — my partner and I have even been arrested a couple of times in public protest!” she told me. “But that’s me, and not Sally.”

    Here’s the essay that Bear Ride has been sending around as a tribute to her sister:

    “Sally Ride was the first American woman to go into space and she was my big sister. Sally died peacefully on July 23rd after a courageous 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer. I was at her side. We grew up in Encino, CA. Our parents, Joyce and Dale Ride, encouraged us to study hard, to do our best and to be anything we wanted to be. In 1983 Newsweek quoted our father as saying, ‘We might have encouraged, but mostly we just let them explore.’ Our parents encouraged us to be curious, to keep our minds and hearts open and to respect all persons as children of God. Our parents taught us to explore, and we did. Sally studied science and I went to seminary. She became an astronaut and I was ordained as a Presbyterian minister.

    “Sally lived her life to the fullest with boundless energy, curiosity, intelligence, passion, joy, and love. Her integrity was absolute; her spirit was immeasurable; her approach to life was fearless. Sally died the same way she lived: without fear. Sally’s signature statement was ‘Reach for the Stars.’ Surely she did this, and she blazed a trail for all the rest of us.

    “My sister was a very private person. Sally had a very fundamental sense of privacy, it was just her nature, because we’re Norwegians, through and through. People did not know she had pancreatic cancer, this is bound 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.

    “Most people did not know that Sally had a wonderfully loving relationship with Tam O’Shaughnessy for 27 years. Sally never hid her relationship with Tam. They were partners, business partners in Sally Ride Science, they wrote books together, and Sally’s very close friends, of course, knew of their love for each other. We consider Tam a member of our family.

    “I hope 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. I hope it makes it easier for kids growing up gay that they know that another one of their heroes was like them.”

    Sex has always been a tricky topic for astronauts: In the old days, they worried that if they didn’t conform with the “Right Stuff” stereotype, they wouldn’t be picked for spaceflights.

  • DrewSF

    It’s not as though Sally Ride was completely closeted. She lived with a female partner Tam for decades! It was not a secret that she’s lesbian and the so called gay/LGBT community did not “out” her.

  • DrewSF

    I agree with Cam, she outed herself.

  • Joseph Hill

    Apparently, too many people CONTINUE to think of Queer-ness as a shameful condition to be kept secret lest it detract from a person’s otherwise “good” reputation. It is obvious that Ms. Ride was ‘out’ to those who were close to her and particularly wanted to acknowledge her love for her ‘partner’ of 27 years–a love that she didn’t publicly wear on her sleeve for the mass media ‘jackdaws’ to ‘peck at’.

    Get over it, all you intransigent homophobes who are so intent on “protecting” her reputation! Is it any wonder that she chose to keep her sexual orientation to her own circle of friends, rather than reveal it to the vulgar masses?!

  • Joseph Hill

    Too much homophobia masquerading as “concern” for Ms. Ride’s ‘privacy’

  • Scott

    Why is it anyones business. If Joe Jones wants to come out and tell the world thats his choice. I nor anyone else has the right to make it their job to involve themselves in other peoples affairs. Those of you that think that because they are a public figures they are automatically up for scrutiny should really check out the skeletons in your own closets. See how much crap you hide and want to keep hidden then maybe you will re-think your view on privacy.

  • Richard Bird

    @Michael DeSelms: She is a hero for all Americans. Since when do we have to use our sexuality to identify ourselfs? It’s the work of this generation to make this part of ourselves
    equal to all the other qualities that make us special. If you live your life and gain the respect animation of others , isn’t that the point? She was a wonderful and gifted individual. We should remember her that way.

  • LadyL

    Well, how about if we substitute the words “speaking frankly and honestly” with the word “outing”? Is the discussion permissible then?
    With all due respect to Bear Ride’s love for her sister, and their Norwegian sense of privacy, as an “L” member of the GLBT community I don’t feel particularly “thrilled” at learning now, only after her death, that Sally Ride was a lesbian.
    When I think back on all the years of struggle to understand and accept myself, the ginormous hole of pain and self-doubt and fear I had to climb out of, it pisses me off to realize that Sally Ride, whose accomplishments I’d admired so much (even loved her made-for-fame name), was yet one more famous closet case who kept her mouth shut and her head down at a time when her visibility might have helped me and many others (and our uncomprehending families)–a lot. What exactly are “kids growing up gay” supposed to take from this news? That you shouldn’t expect to accomplish great things in this world unless you stay firmly in the closet? How is this progress?
    And can I say again how disturbing it is to keep hearing people attaching the word “privacy” to the sexual orientation of gay? Does anyone seriously think of heterosexuality in such terms? It seems to me that when we talk on sites like this about celebrities who are LGBT and in the closet–for whatever their reasons–the word we really mean but resolutely avoid saying is SECRECY, which is not at all the same thing. Secrecy involves elements of lingering shame, and fear of reprisals, and that above all explains the reluctance of the famous (particularly those whose major fame arrived decades ago) to publicly acknowledge themselves as gay.
    I read Ride’s decision to out herself via her obituary this way: being a lesbian was a secret she felt burdened by, especially during the NASA years, and burdened her partner as well–Tam was never allowed in Sally’s lifetime to proudly acknowledge her love for her–and with death that burden could finally be thrown off. This may not gibe with the preferred image of Sally Ride as “fearless” but it does make her recognizably human, which may in the end be more important.
    I get it that people liked her, and when we like celebs our first instinct is to want to be supportive, even protective. But we shouldn’t allow our affection to blind us to what’s really going on when famous queers stay hidden from public view.

  • J Stratford

    Sally Ride intended to out herself post-humously to help LGBT and cancer research. Were just doing her wishes.

  • steve rosenberger

    @timncguy: Exactly right, Tim. Ms Ride outed herself, posthumously. No one else did that. And the ensuing discussion of that is hardly “promoting her sexuality” as has been suggested. The world we live in is sensational enough. We don’t need misleading headlines on stories to turn up the volume.

  • dab

    yes she should be held as an example. she is dead and can’t care of it at all now. ( staunch atheist here…she isn’t looking down on us! )

  • Geri

    Dan Avery: You still haven’t provided any proof at all that Sally Ride was “a lesbian” and not a bisexual, or possibly demisexual, woman in a same-sex relationship for the last 27 years of her life.

    Here’s a fact. When she went on her 2 missions into space Sally Ride was married to fellow astronaut, Steve Hawley. Here’s a link to a picture of them kissing each other on Jan 2nd 1984

    Now we just need some gaydarian expert to look at this single picture and say something along the lines of: “Oh you can tell she’s a lesbian. Just look at her body language, she’s definitely not into him – blah, blah, blah…”

    Mike Szymanski, Bisexuality Examiner, asks: “Was Sally Ride the first Bisexual in Space?”

    Shouldn’t think so. It was probably one of those poor monkeys or chimpanzees they sent up there.

  • Brandon

    The main reason she didn’t come out publicly was because her company did its main business with public and private schools, and it would have been too controversial.

  • stephennyc

    @Greg: Public figures do have privacy rights, legally. It’s mostly a state law question, and California has probably the most strict laws regarding public figures. But legal rights to privacy and personality don’t apply here, i think.

    Ride’s obit, which she contributed to, was a public disclosure. Yet she apparently didn’t hide it from family, friends, and work associates. It seems that she lived about as openly as many in the LGBTQ community.

  • Frederick

    If she acknowledged her relationship with her partner when she wrote her own obituary, then I truly don’t think she’d have a problem being seen as a LGBT role model posthumously.

  • Cam

    @Scott: said…

    “Why is it anyones business. If Joe Jones wants to come out and tell the world thats his choice. I nor anyone else has the right to make it their job to involve themselves in other peoples affairs.”

    What a pathetic comment. She was in a loving multiple decades long relationship and you are saying it should be hidden.

    Please explain why you feel that her partner should not have been mentioned in the obituary she wrote for herself.

  • Rob

    Geri-It’s possible she was bisexual; but there are a lot of lesbians as well as gay men who have been married to the opposite gender.

    What is a Demi sexual?

  • David Ehrenstein

    @Joseph Hill: “Privacy” = “Stay in the closet and don’t even THINK of coming out!”

  • B

    No. 1 · jeff4justice said, “All public figures are fair to scrutinize. Free speech.” But First, Sally Ride was at most a limited-purpose public figure (check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_figure for an overview of the distinction, with http://www.lectlaw.com/def2/p117.htm containing more details). Second, just because something is legal does not mean it is fair or appropriate. BTW, http://www.thenewsmanual.net/Manuals%20Volume%203/volume3_62.htm has guidelines for journalists as to when looking into or reporting about someone’s private life is warranted. In most cases, it isn’t.

    Nobody was looking into the personal lives of any other astronaut. Perhaps Dr. Ride simply wanted to be treated in that respect like her peers and didn’t mention that she was a lesbian in public statements because that might become the only topic of discussion when she really wanted to talk about her career or current work. Regardless, it was her decision and it should be respected.

  • timncguy

    @David Ehrenstein: Ms Ride wrote her own obituary in which she mention being survived by her partner of 27 years Ms O’Shaughnessy. The obit was published before her sister confirmed that Sally Ride was indeed a lesbian. So, she outed herself. Her sister just provided confirmation.

  • mrsbuela

    oh honey nobody outed her honey her obituary did it honey oh yes it did honey.

    now ol buela got her own personal feelins bout outin people honey oh yes she do honey ol buela definitely got her an opinion bout that honey. if they gittin up on a soap box and attackin the lgbt community and they in the closet yall can best ol buela gonna out em honey oh it true honey she done it to many honey like all them mens she slept wit who had wives at home usin on buela as a weekend romper room honey oh hell no honey ol buela dont get played like that honey and she outed many of em honey oh yes she did honey like this one skank honey oh yes honey he buyin ol buela lots of presents and then she find out he married and a preacher man to boot honey oh hell no honey so ol buela got a big ol bee in her bonnet and show up at his church and honey yall shoulda seen the seven colors of red he turn and the sermon was all about homosexuals and hatin the sin but not the sinner.

    well honey ol buela aint good botu keepin her mouth shut honey oh no she aint honey and when she see who she thought was her man up there dressed in his preacher collar and actin all holier than though and condemning ol buela oh hell no honey.

    ol buela stood up and she say “oh no you dint honey oh no you aint up there preachin bout how homosexuals are bad when yall been bangin ol buela for months honey lyin and usin a fake name honey oh hell no honey” buela went there honey oh yes she did honey.

    there were a lotta jaws droppin that day honey oh yes and the biggest jaw drop probably came from his wife who sittin there honey and tha skank she gets up and starts givin ol buela tha tude callin her a liar and troublemaker honey now honey mrs buela may stir up some trouble but she aint a liar honey and tha last thing tha skank wanted to do is call ol buela a liar and git up in her face honey cuz honey buela has cut people for less honey oh yes she has honey so ol buela respond by askin her what she think bout that weird lil birth mark on his right ass cheek honey the one shaped like a airplane honey oh yes honey it true honey that shut tha biotch up honey oh yes it did honey.

    then he go and tell ol buela to go f herself honey in the baby jesus’ house honey that preacher up there shootin off a whole bunch of cusswords honey oh yes he did honey people gaspin they never hear him use them words before honey oh yes honey.

    in cases like that it perfectly proper to out em honey oh yes it is honey and there aint no shortage of mens like that neither honey like tha larry craig honey carryin on he not gay but he know all these special leg moves honey hell honey ol buela dint even know bouts them things honey tha hypocrite makin ol buela look like a novice in torrid mens room sex honey oh lawds yes honey.

    now honey if the person mindin their own business ol buela can keep her mouth shut honey oh yes she can honey but for them haters who havin hissy fits bout gays and they whorin round doin every tom dick and harry then can get their grubby hands on yall can best bet ol buela will out em honey oh yes she will honey she’ll make a big ol public service announcement honey yall can count on that honey.


    What importance did her death bring to the gay community?Personally I believe it has,if Ms.Ride would wanted people to know she was gay,she would have told them herself.

  • Jerry6

    The only people who are fair game are those Gays that hide their gayness AND persecute those Gays who are Out. You never know the economic, social, or personal harm that may come to someone if their homosexuality is disclosed without their consent.

  • Craig Browning

    I think the person that needs to be asked is her life-mate, she’s the only one that would know her well enough to know if this is one more ground-breaking threshold she’d be happy and willing to cross. They’re from a different time and certainly a very different environment (very military — think about it).

    I do believe it “right” to bring attention to the situation however, and have a “celebrity” around which to hang this issue is always a good thing . . . but it’s been done . . . TO DEATH! (no pun intended). Every PR firm out there and every drama queen that works for them, reflexively OUT their dead VIP clients if they stand a chance to make some extra green. As Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley have both proven, the estate can frequently garner far more with them gone and immortalized than having them breathing and calling the shots.

  • Patsy Stoned

    If she wrote her own obituary she intended to come out after her death, and maybe she did it for a reason. If people are feeling sympathy for her partner of many years, who gets ZILCH from Ride’s benefits (thanks to the gay-hating that pervades our government and society), then her posthumous coming out might do some good.

  • SteveB MKE

    The problem is that gay in this country is not equal to the majority of the country. If she had announced before her ride, would she be fired? I believe it may/would have been legal to do so. It is a matter of beliefs. If you believe that gay is a Choice or Race. I believe it is a race- genetic, like blue eyed, black or white. Just another gene difference. When blacks were discriminated against no one needed to “out” them. Gays however need to speak up and stop being second class citizens. Imagine if one day all gays world wide announced themselves, wouldn’t it be hard not to notice us? Out everyone I say, especially those in the public, political, religious spotlight, especially those that cast votes against gays and yet are gay. We should and will be eventually recognized this way, but it will take some doing. Including gay people to stop believing that they are second class citizens and speak up. Those around Sally Ride and her partner of 27 years should have known better and supported her in order for her to do the right thing. Being Gay is not a Private issue no more than being Black is a private issue, or Asian, Left handed, Female or Male, Blue, Green, Brown eyed, short, tall, they are all Genetic Race Issues. Being Republican, Dem, Muslim, Jewish, Catholic ect. are private issues because they ARE by choice…..

  • zedhead

    Outing seems to be wrong- especially if that person is not being hypocritical. What is the difference between outing and bullying?

  • Gene in L.A.

    You say right in the article that Sally outed herself in the obituary she co-wrote. The gay community is not outing her, as your title seems to indicate. Why are you wasting a page on this? She was gay. She outed herself. It’s now common knowledge, and suitable for talking about. Please, can we get away from the meaningless controversy and on to something substantive?

  • David Myers

    @Ted B. (Charging Rhino): Wrong. The fact that she helped write her obituary which does “out” her makes it clear that she no longer wanted the information private. Obviously she chose this posthumous method of self-outing on purpose and to me it is obvious that she meant it as a political statement in support of GLBTQ rights! The additional issue of her partner not getting benefits because of the DFOM act is timely and apt as a political issue. Sally clearly wanted young lesbians to know that they too could control their own destiny and do whatever they had the skills and desire to do in their lives as well! Bravo to her!

  • David Myers

    @Michael DeSelms: Read the article before commenting please. She did indeed help to write her obituary so clearly it was her intention to now come out. Honestly people who comment with out carefully reading the article show their ignorance and uninformed verbosity! Enough!

  • David Myers

    @SWFUNMALE: Can’t you read! She did! Wake Up!

  • pap

    There is a difference between outing her (which she did in a very subtle way on her term) and using her name and image for the gay cause. I haven’t read anything that says she wanted to be put on a pedastal as a gay icon. She didn’t do it while she was alive and it doesn’t seem she wanted to in death. People need to stop using her for their own selfish reasons.

  • Geri

    “Geri-It’s possible she was bisexual; but there are a lot of lesbians as well as gay men who have been married to the opposite gender.”

    I would contend that if Sally Ride “did not like labels” in regard to sexuality that it is more than simply possible that she was bisexual, it is probable that she was. Or that she was significantly fluid in her sexuality – possibly to the degree that when she was in a relationship with a man she felt heterosexual and when she was in a relationship with a woman she felt homosexual.

    “What is a Demi sexual?”

    A demisexual is a person who does not experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with someone. It’s more commonly seen in but by no means confined to romantic relationships. The term demisexual comes from the orientation being “halfway between” sexual and asexual. Nevertheless, this term does not mean that demisexuals have an incomplete or half-sexuality, nor does it mean that sexual attraction without emotional connection is required for a complete sexuality. In general, demisexuals are not sexually attracted to anyone of any gender; however, when a demisexual is emotionally connected to someone else (whether the feelings are romantic love or deep friendship), the demisexual experiences sexual attraction and desire, but only towards the specific partner or partners.

    Thank you for reading my post in this thread and responding to it.

    PS If the term “lesbian” was currently defined (as I believe it should be and know that in essence it has been in the past and still is by many of the non-PC ) as an umbrella term for women who love women – i.e. it was fully inclusive of bisexual women and demisexual and fluid sexual women who fall in love with women – none of this would be an issue.

  • David Myers

    @pap: Her partner and her sister would appear to disagree with you, that Sally would be against her come out being used to focus on her partner being denied her pension and other issues concerning the lack of equality for gays and lesbians, based on their comments. It would seem it is you who is making the assumption that she would be unhappy with the focus and attention, based on your own biases.

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