Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sally Ride: Why it matters

We are all mourning Sally Ride, an impressive scientist and the first American woman astronaut on the shuttle.  She served her country well as a scientist and as an advocate for girls (and children generally) in science.

What many people did not know is that Sally was gay.  She was faithfully partnered for 27 years to Dr Tam O'Shaughnessy.  Thanks to DOMA, of course, Dr O'Shaughnessy will not receive any of the federal benefits that a widow of a male astronaut would receive.  As the NY Times notes,  
Ms. Ride was not a public advocate for gay rights. Still, it’s relatively easy to imagine what she might have had to say about the situation. In 1983, she was the subject of endless questioning about being the first American woman in space, a lot of which focused on things like whether she would wear a bra or makeup in space. At a NASA news conference at the time, she said: “It’s too bad this is such a big deal. It is too bad our society isn’t further along.”
Our condolences to Dr O'Shaughnessy.  

Ride, Sally, Ride!

No comments: