Jaco – Sally Ride’s Legacy Is Bigger than Her Sexual Orientation

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) - Sally Ride, America's first woman in space, died this weerk of pancreatic cancer at age 61. An intensely private woman, Dr. Ride kept her terminal illness quiet. Only her family and friends knew the trail blazing astronaut was dying. But since her death, a fight has erupted over whether it matters that our first female astronaut was a lesbian.

The larger public didn't find out Sally Ride was gay until her obituary was published. First among the survivors was listed Tam O'Shaughnessy, Sally ride's partner of 27 years. This immediately started a debate in the gay community about whether Sally Ride could have advanced the cause of gay rights and gay marriage by coming out publicly and lending her name to gay causes.

Sally Ride was not in the closet to people who knew and associated with her around San Diego. She just chose not make her sexual orientation public until after her death. But then this was a woman who didn't want the general public to know about her fatal illness until after her death. Coming out while she was with NASA would have ended her astronaut career and ended her security clearance.

So is it really anybody elses business? No, it's not. Except, except that there are too many people who think gays are evil. They think they shouldn't have the same rights as everyone else. They have built entire political careers about upholding, "Family values" and condemning homosexuals.

Sally Ride was always a trailblazer for women and girls, especially girls in science and math and engineering. She was America's first woman in space and maybe all that is legacy enough for one person.

I'm Charles Jaco and that's Jacology.