First Female U.S. Astronaut, Sally Ride, Comes Out In Obituary

“I hope it makes it easier for kids growing up gay that they know that another one of their heroes was like them,” Sally Ride's sister, Bear Ride, said. posted

Chris Geidner BuzzFeed Staff Sally Ride Photo

Sally Ride, who died today after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer, was the first female U.S. astronaut in space and became friends with Tam O'Shaugnessy at the age of 12. It was not until today, however — nearly 50 years after meeting — that their 27-year romantic relationship was made public.

The pioneering scientist was, a statement from Sally Ride Science announced, survived by "Tam O'Shaughnessy, her partner of 27 years."

With that simple statement — listed alongside her mother, Joyce; her sister, Bear; her niece, Caitlin and nephew, Whitney — Ride came out.

Bear Ride, talking with BuzzFeed, said today, "We consider Tam a member of the family."

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