The San Francisco Chronicle's Joe Garofoli spoke with Sally Ride's family and friends about how the first American woman astronaut — and, now, the first known LGBT astronaut — was a private person who wasn't in the closet as much as disinterested in making a public statement about her sexuality.
"Sally had a very fundamental sense of privacy - it was just her nature - because we're Norwegians, through and through," said her sister, Karen "Bear" Ride, who added that no one knew she had cancer, either.
But since the U.S. still doesn't recognize same-sex relationships — meaning Ride's partner of 27 years, Tam O'Shaughnessy, can't receive federal benefits — her posthumous coming out is much appreciated by LGBTQ advocates around the country. "It reinforces for all Americans that LGBT people are everywhere. We come from every walk of life," said Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco.
Sally Ride 'never hid,' just private [SF Chronicle]