Pioneering astronaut Sally Ride has died of pancreatic cancer at 61. Did I miss her coming out or did it happen today in her obituary? Her partner of 27 years, Dr. Tam O'Shaughnessy, does not mention their personal relationship in her long bio on Sally Ride Science. Sally's obit posted today to the site does include their partnership; her official NASA bio doesn't. Before this afternoon, her wikipedia page had no LGBT tags.
Our community has faced many challenges in the 29 years since her first space shuttle mission. The visible support and leading example of a national hero could only have helped. She chose to stay closeted and silent.
Even more stressful than being lovers, Sally and Tam were co-authors; their books include Voyager: An Adventure to the Edge of the Solar System and the award-winning The Third Planet: Exploring the Earth from Space.
UPDATE: Brian points to this article in which the astronaut's sister Bear Ride, also gay, says Sally "never hid her relationship with Tam," and "Sally didn't use labels." Bear adds, "I hope it makes it easier for kids growing up gay that they know that another one of their heroes was like them." Maybe yes, and that's great. Or maybe queer kids today want their heroes to be out.