Gay and lesbian rights advocates said on Thursday they are disappointed it was never publicly disclosed that Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, was gay until after she died, but that her legacy will remain intact.
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Lorri L. Jean, the CEO of the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center, said Ride's impact on the world would have been tremendous had she come out of the closet during her lifetime.
Throughout her life, Ride supported and was a board member of many science and technology groups and organizations but she never publicly supported gay and lesbian issues.
“Anytime anyone of signature comes out it’s always good but I don’t think less of Sally Ride," Jean said. "Everyone has to make their own decision but I am disappointed.”
The larger public did not learn she was gay until it was mentioned in her obituary on her website after her death on Monday. Ride co-wrote the post with her longtime lover, Tam O’Shaughnessy, with whom she had a 27-year relationship.
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