America’s First Female Astronaut Sally Ride Attacked Posthumously For Not Being A Good Lesbian


In this case a “good lesbian” being an “out lesbian.” Virginia Hefferman at The Lookout notes the issue:

Maybe the idea of gays in space is just so exciting that it has overwhelmed Sally Ride’s eulogists, who really should be parsing her achievements in astrophysics, accident investigations and middle-school education, rather than trying to make hay out of her mellow lesbian romantic life.

she and her collaborator and co-author Tam O’Shaughnessy, a biologist and school psychology professor, really did live together for three decades. This was well-known to family and friends.

Ride died Monday. Much of her adoring public learned the details of her domestic arrangements only posthumously. In this way, she was like most celebrities who die.

But for some reason the fact that Ride’s live-in relationship with O’Shaugnessy was only revealed when she died, bugged commenters like Andrew Sullivan who managed to find feminist secrecy in Ride’s and O’Shaughnessy’s promotion (O’Shaugnessy was the head of Ride’s company) as a woman first and a lesbian second.

Said loathable Trig Truther, and emerging first stop on celebrity outing tours, Andrew Sullivan says in The Daily Beast:

I’m not so understanding. We can judge this decision in the context of Ride’s life. Her achievements as a woman and as a scientist and as an astronaut and as a brilliant, principled investigator of NASA’s screw-ups will always stand, and vastly outshine any flaws. But the truth remains: she had a chance to expand people’s horizons and young lesbians’ hope and self-esteem, and she chose not to.

He doubles down in a follow-up.

I’m struck by the notion that “being out was not an option.” Sure it was. It is always an option. A truly difficult option, but an option. She chose not to go there, while she embraced many other causes. Others took the risk and faced the consequences.

..The trouble is: you legitimize the assumptions about being a lesbian and not being a real woman by staying in the closet. And Ride was silent during the most epic and important years of both the AIDS crisis and the battle over marriage and the military. Those weren’t any old years to be gay. They were the critical ones – when gay people were dying en masse, and when the possibility of civil rights and civil equality hung in the balance. In that struggle, she was sadly AWOL.

Sullivan and his ilk have no use for you if you’re not hewing their narrative of what it is to be gay. Ride was a scientist and astronaut, not a gay activist. Judging her on Sullivan’s scale is just ridiculous. Who she slept with or didn’t sleep with has no bearing on her achievements except in Sullivan’s world.

Thoughts On Same-Sex Marriage
Transparency? Obama's Secretive Soros-Funded Money Machine
  • That Andrew could become lower in my estimation just boggles my mind. But he managed to do it quite convincingly. My hope and prayer is that AIDS-related dementia is responsible for his abominable opinion. That would be a reason I could tolerate.

  • GarandFan

    Andrew Sullivan – small man – small mind. In his world, the universe obviously revolves around being gay. Ride accomplished a lot in her life – Andy can only posture and scribble.

    • She’ll be remembered a hell of a lot longer than he will.

  • So… she was gay? That means she wasn’t a scientist? Or an astronaut? That she didn’t do amazing things? That I shouldn’t respect her because she wasn’t out?

    Ya know, not everyone defines themselves exclusively by which direction their plumbing points. Or even secondarily. If you don’t want to have the world examining your sexuality with a magnifying glass, you’ve got every right to avoid it.

    I swear, I’m really starting to think there’s maybe something in the AIDS virus that affects the brain – first making you idiotically promiscuous, and then flippin’ stupid.

    • As funny as this comment is, the sad part is that HIV can cause insanity (IIRC) in real life :O

      • Yes it can, in advanced stages. I’m wondering if there isn’t something to it that, in the early stages, attacks the centers of the brain that handle self-control and sexual response. I’m not a neurologist, and don’t even pretend to play one on the internet, but if you’re a sexually transmitted virus looking for a way to infect a new host, seems to me it doesn’t get much better than to have control of the host and force it to have random couplings at every opportunity.

        And thinking about that possibility brings up a major “ewww” factor…

    • jim_m

      To Andrew Sullivan, like many in the Gay community, the way you have sex is the most important identifier of your personhood. Your whole being boils down to your sexual preference and the rest of your personality is meaningless.

      Fortunately for Ms Ride she saw that she was more complex a person than that and that her personal life was, well, personal, just like anyone else’s.

      I don’t get it about some people that have to stick their personal life in everyone’s face.

      • … so to speak.

        Yeah, it’s kind of annoying.

    • SCSIwuzzy

      So, isn’t the fact that she’s gay being a yawn inducing footnote, a nib-let of trivia, evidence of how far the US has traveled down the path of tolerating and accepting homosexuals?
      I think Sullivan is insecure about his career and success. Would he be a nationally know author and pundit if he wasn’t “gay as the day is long” and inserting his gayness at every opportunity? I believe it bothers him to see a famous and successful gay person that isn’t known as “the first gay X” or “prominent gay Y”. To see someone like him get ahead without brandishing their rainbow flag.

      • Or their sexual preference… “I’m a GAY astronaut! That makes me TWICE as awesome, sucka! I was awesome before – now I’m MORE SO!”

        Actually, such preening and posturing would have detracted from what she did – not added to it.

        You’re right. People don’t particularly care which direction your plumbing points – but someone who is unable to imagine any sort of public recognition without explict confirmation of sexuality has got some baggage of their own.

        (In Sullivan’s case, I’m thinking he’s hauling around a 40′ freight container’s worth…)

    • SCSIwuzzy

      So, isn’t the fact that she’s gay being a yawn inducing footnote, a nib-let of trivia, evidence of how far the US has traveled down the path of tolerating and accepting homosexuals?
      I think Sullivan is insecure about his career and success. Would he be a nationally know author and pundit if he wasn’t “gay as the day is long” and inserting his gayness at every opportunity? I believe it bothers him to see a famous and successful gay person that isn’t known as “the first gay X” or “prominent gay Y”. To see someone like him get ahead without brandishing their rainbow flag.

  • Hank_M

    sometimes I wonder if people like Sullivan are more responsible for gays staying in the closet than straight people are.

    Ride lived her life the way she wanted, and an exemplary life it was.

  • Casey Hood

    Huge NASA fan here. Posthumously slamming an astronaut (Ph.D.) is obviously asinine. HOWEVER, this is further proof being gay could not be further from the experience of being a racial minority. I don’t care how often they try to create the parallel for political purposes.

  • Commander_Chico

    Why should Ride have been speaking out during the AIDS crisis? Lesbians are the lowest risk group among all preferences. Sullivan is a dolt if he imagines that there is some obligation of solidarity between a lesbian scientist and a male patron of bathhouses.

  • herddog505

    All my brother* reichwing Rethuglikkkan racist bigot theocrat homophobes! Raise your hand if Dr. Ride’s sexual preference makes you think one iota less of her than you did before you found out!

    [crickets]

    Yeah, that’s what I thought.

    God speed, Dr. Ride.

    ===

    (*) As part of our War on Women(TM), we naturally don’t let no fee-males in our club!

  • Guest

    I think she could have done a lot of good by coming out of the closet, but I respect her decision to keep her private life to herself.

  • LiberalNightmare

    I cant say that I care if she was a lesbian or not. I do think its sad that for many liberals, who she was sleeping with trumps her actual accomplishments.

  • Brian_R_Allen

    …. by staying in the closet a lesbian legitimizes the assumptions about not being a real woman ….

    What utter rubbish.

    By maintaining the privacy she elected to treasure and by absolutely refusing to blind herself to reality by the use of its distorting lens, Miss Ride kept her “sexuality” and her bedroom behavior as ordinary as such matters are for the 98-or-so% of us of whom the definition of “sexuality” is a simple as a trip to the nearest mirror.

    May God rest and keep her close!

    Vale, Miss Ride.