Should Sally Ride have revealed that she was gay?

Avatar for Cmmelissa
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Registered: 11-13-2008
Should Sally Ride have revealed that she was gay?
44
Thu, 07-26-2012 - 4:34pm

I was sad to learn that Sally Ride had passed away this week, she was such a role model to my generation to know that women really can a "man's job".  I really didn't react to the news that she was lesbian, until I read this opinion piece from CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/26/opinion/darrah-sally-ride-lesbian/index.html?hpt=op_t1

The piece talks about how some opinions are that she let down the LGBT community by not coming out that she was gay, which the author disagreed with.  She talks about how it was a different world 30 years ago, and it didn't surprise her that she wasn't public about that side of her life.  It makes me wonder if she would have been the first woman in space if it was known that she was gay.  She might not have had the same legacy if she was open about her sexuality.  

Do you think that women today are still hesitant to come out as gay in today's workforce?  Do you think that's it's more acceptable in some industries versus others?  

 

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Registered: 02-04-2009
bordwithyou wrote:
My son is very much into the space community, and we have met Sally Ride and John Glenn. ride, for whatever reason, kind of dropped out of the NASA community after she retired from NASA. That is not unusual for retired shuttle astronauts, although in Ride's case, she could have capitalized a bit on the "first lady in space" standing and made some $$$ at autograph shows, etc. For reasons of her own, rather than being involved in things like the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, she chose to start her own foundation and focus almost solely on the education of girls. Her ex-husband is pretty active on the retired astronaut circuit, that might have been awkward for her, I do not know. Anyway, if you went to one of the few events Ride appeared at (mostly book tours and things as a public persona), her partner was there. It bet occurred to me that they were life partners, O'Shaunessy just acted like an employee of the foundation. But I think that those who knew Ride well must have known. The early astronauts (Glenn is an exception) tend to be pretty politically and socially conservative but also tend to be well-mannered personally. It would not surprise me if Ride heard one too many homophobic jokes or off-hand comments among the "boys" and just got sick and tired of it.

She didn't sever NASA ties entirely; wasn't she on both of the oversight groups which investigated the shuttle tragedies?  th only person to serve on both, if I remember the obit correctly.

************

Kitty

"If you can't annoy somebody with what you write, I think there's little point in writing."-- Kingsley Amis, British novelist, 1971 t .

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Registered: 05-13-2009
I agree that Sally Ride was under no obligation to come out as lesbian.

How does that work about sexuality if you are GLBT? If Sally Ride had chosen to acknowledge her relationship with her partner, it appears, in the words in your previous post, that she's announcing to world who she's sleeping with, but Neil Armstrong's marriages to women don't announce who he's sleeping with?

I think society is doing a disservice to the Gay and Lesbian community. Let them validate their relationships' with the ability to marry and treat Ride, Glenn and Armstrong equally as the groundbreaking role models they were.
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Registered: 01-08-2009
You are right , she did serve on the Columbia Review Board even after she retired from NASA. She was asked to come back and did for that task.
Avatar for savcal2011
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Registered: 10-06-2010
Then it was YOUR response that wasn't really in line with the question. Because you said <<I think this world would be a much better place if more people, gay or straight or bi, would just keep their mouths shut about who they sleep with>>

You didn't say "people should refrain from making public stands about their sexuality" or "People should keep their sex lives out of the public arena". You said people should just keep their mouths shut. Period.

<< My friends know I'm straight--I have no obligation to stand up and say, "I'm straight and proud." >>

My point exactly. People know you're straigh - because your husband accompanies you places. Because you've talked about your husband or your wedding or activities with him, etc,etc. Gay people's acquaintances should know they are gay - because they too talk about their partners, their weddings, activiites with their partner, etc. But in Sally's case (and in the case of too many people still today) they feel they can't talk about that stuff, so therefore people don't know they are gay.

"I don’t mind a banshee, that’s fine. 2 banshees? I HATE you. I actually wish bad things upon you." -- Day[9] Daily #459 P1

Avatar for savcal2011
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Registered: 10-06-2010
You're right - they don't have an *obligation * to announce it. But they should have the *right* to act just like straight people. And many times, if they exercise that right, they'd be shunned, fired, ridiculed or persecuted. I think Sally probably felt that way, so she didn't act just like straight people. She hid it instead.

"I don’t mind a banshee, that’s fine. 2 banshees? I HATE you. I actually wish bad things upon you." -- Day[9] Daily #459 P1

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-22-2009

  There is no evidence that she did not talk about it.  Her friends and family knew that she was gay so it was not a secret.   She just choose to not talk about it publically. 

 In her case the public arena was her work life, there are many things that people share in their private life, with friends and acquaintances that they choose not to share in their work life. 

 

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Registered: 01-08-2009
Sun, 07-29-2012 - 11:17pm
I don't think Ride "hid" her sexual orientation. She lived with her partner in San Diego. They attended events together. She chose not to come out publicly, but she didn't "hide" either. She probably feared, and rightly so, that she couldnt have continued working with girls as effectively if she became vocal about gay issues. She could either be a "gay astronaut," or an activist for girls in STEM, not both, unfortunately. I think she chose the role she thought she was best suited for. And by including her partner in her obituary, she opened the way for this conversation,
Avatar for savcal2011
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Registered: 10-06-2010
I didn't do a lot of background, so thank you for this. I didn't realize that she was that open in h er non-public life. Very glad to see that she was.

"I don’t mind a banshee, that’s fine. 2 banshees? I HATE you. I actually wish bad things upon you." -- Day[9] Daily #459 P1

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Registered: 11-13-2011

I don't care if she was gay or  not.

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Registered: 07-24-2011

I do not think it matters. That may be a very simplistic view but I do feel that it is a personal issue. Chick-Fil-A is taking a nasty beating right now for stating their feelings, yet when you state your preferences, it is fine. We cannot have it both ways. People should say what they feel without retribution, including any from your employer. Sadly, who knows if it would have removed her from the position of being an astronaut had she 'come out' prior but it definitely should not have. It is irrelevant and people should not have to fear being themselves, whether others like it or not.