- Child killed, 4 injured in Idaho elementary school bus crash
- Obama downplays IRS scandal, blames Obamacare rollout on ‘outdated’ agencies
- Pregnancies decline overall, up among older women
- Pentagon plans to destroy Syrian chemical arms on ship at sea
- Paris Metro issues ‘politeness manual’ to improve passengers’ behavior
- Justin Bieber, crew detained at Australian airport in drug search
- Lee Rigby trial: Muslim who machete-hacked soldier calls it ‘humane’ kill
- GM ending Chevy sales in Europe to focus on Opel and Vauxhall
- Putin’s diplomats to U.S. busted for living high life off $1.5M bilked from Medicaid
- Happy Meal: Couple goes to McDonald’s, leaves with bag packed with cash
Sally Ride sparks posthumous debate on coming out
NEW YORK (AP) - Pioneering astronaut Sally Ride, who relished privacy as much as she did adventure, chose an appropriately discreet manner of coming out.
At the end of an obituary that she co-wrote with her partner, Tam O'Shaughnessy, they disclosed to the world their relationship of 27 years. That was it.
As details trickled out after Ride’s death on Monday, it became clear that a circle of family, friends and co-workers had long known of the same-sex relationship and embraced it. For many millions of others, who admired Ride as the first American woman in space, it was a revelation _ and it sparked a spirited discussion about privacy vs. public candor in regard to sexual orientation.
“She had a chance to expand people’s horizons and young lesbians’ hope and self-esteem, and she chose not to,” he wrote. “She was the absent heroine.”
Others were supportive of Ride’s choices.
Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, who in 2003 became the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican world, noted that both he and Ride were baby boomers who grew up “in a time when coming out was almost unthinkable.”
Robinson is 65. Ride was 61 when she died of pancreatic cancer.
“For girls who had an interest in science and wanted to go places women had not been allowed to go, she was a tremendous role model,” Robinson said Wednesday. “The fact that she chose to keep her identity as a lesbian private _ I honor that choice.”
However, Robinson said he had a different standard for younger gays _ to the point of insisting that his own clergy in New Hampshire be open about their sexuality if they are gay or lesbian.
“While there is still discrimination and coming out will still have repercussions, the effect of those repercussions are vastly reduced now,” Robinson said. “I believe that times have changed.”
There’s no question that gays and lesbians overall are coming out now at a higher rate and an earlier age than those of previous generations. According to the LGBT Movement Advancement Project, adults aged 30-54 are 16 times more likely to be closeted than those under 30.
In pop culture, the fine arts, the entertainment industry, and in some individual sports, it’s now commonplace for luminaries to be out as gay or lesbian. But in many other fields, the dynamics are different.
Aside from Ride, no other astronaut of any nation has come out as gay. No active player in the four major North American pro sports leagues _ football, basketball, baseball, hockey _ has come out as gay, though some retired players have done so. Ken Mehlman came out as gay only after he completed his stint as chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Back in 2002, baseball star Mike Piazza _ then playing with the New York Mets _ rebutted rumors by holding a news conference to declare, “I’m not gay.” Queen Latifah, the hip-hop star and actress, has countered comparable speculation over the years by refusing to discuss her personal life.
Why such hatred toward America's freedom of religion?
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality: liberal group
- Activists urge Obama to go rogue, sidestep Congress
- PRUDEN: British press horrified as London's new mayor dares to proclaim the truth
- Hack attack: 2 million Facebook, Twitter passwords stolen
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- NAPOLITANO: Pope Francis should be saving souls, not pocketbooks
- Blast of winter weather heads to D.C. area
- GOP launches candidate training: How to talk to women
- Russian diplomats busted bilking $1.5 million from Medicaid
- CARSON: Getting to the top by starting at the bottom
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
Understanding economic events with a free market explanation
John Wood illustrates a new American politics, and the path to get there.
Interviews and show reviews from the Los Angeles punk scene past and present. Los Angeles has always been rich in punk rock talent since punk rock was born.
White House pets gone wild!