Talk:Sally Ride

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Is this passage really relevant?

Her voice, however, was not the first female voice to be transmitted from an American spacecraft; during Skylab, a recording of Helen Garriott — wife of crewmember Owen Garriott — was transmitted down to Mission Control as a prank, pretending that she was actually onboard the spacecraft
It just seems to me like trivia that does not have anything to do with Dr. Ride's real accomplishments. (talk) 19:57, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
Can the above-mentioned passage be deleted? I proposed this some time ago and there has been no reply, as you can see. -- (talk) 23:59, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Already done by User:SMcCandlish. — Bility (talk) 17:04, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

Biography assessment rating comment[edit]

WikiProject Biography Assessment

Very nearly a B. Perhaps some sections and inline citations b?

The article may be improved by following the WikiProject Biography 11 easy steps to producing at least a B article. -- Yamara 13:04, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

I thought Sally Ride attended Sweet Briar College, Virginia. Sjdorm (talk) 03:06, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Youngest in Orbit?[edit]

It is claimed that Sally Ride was the youngest person sent into orbit at age 31. However, the cosmonaut, Gherman Titov was just 25 years old when he flew in Vostok 2 back in 1961.
It is possible that Ride is either the youngest American or youngest woman in orbit (or both), but I am not sure. Anyway for now I will remove that line, someone can restore it if he can find a reliable source to the contrary. Teiresias84 00:43, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

Valentina Tereshkova was 26 years old when she went into orbit in 1963 aboard Vostok 6Jscb (talk) 11:09, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
Gherman Titov was 25 years and 11 months old when he flew in Vostok 2, the second manned spaceflight, and he still holds the record as the youngest cosmonaut or astronaut. Why is it that people cannot simply check their facts before just shooting off with anything? By the way, Titov died decades ago, as did Yuri Gagarin, Alan Shepard, and Gus Grissom, but Tereshkova and John Glenn are still alive. D.A.W. (talk) 23:04, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Popular Culture[edit]

Should there be a section of her in popular culture? shes mentioned in Billy Joel's song 'We Didn't Start the Fire' (unsigned comment)

  • Who was not mentioned in that song? It has such a fast tempo Billy Joel could have blabbed off every name in the entire human race. USN1977 (talk) 22:07, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Some questions contain their own answers. If you need to dig back to a 30-year-old song that names over 75 people from the headlines of the then-current day, then no. No, this article neither needs nor warrants a "popular" "culture" section. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:20, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

It seems obvious that Lou Reed's song title is taking from the line "Ride, Sally, Ride" in Mustang Sally. What is the point of mentioning Reed's song in the article? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:35, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Death of Sally Ride[edit]

Apparently, the news is from one press release service that may or may not be accurate. Given the notability of this person, there is nothing on NASA's website, from Obama, from major news services, or anything. Are we jumping the gun from a minor news service? This may well be true, but could we wait for some serious reliable sources? SkepticalRaptor (talk) 21:18, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

It apparently literally JUST happened. It was on CNN and and msnbc. But neither has published it online so there's no source as of yet. I'd expect a short NASA statement in the next several minutes. DavidSSabb (talk) 21:20, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Aren't we supposed to be conservative here and use actual sources? We've got squat right now. I don't see where it hurts to have actual reliable sources than a bunch of editors who want to pat themselves on the back for being the first ones to put in new edits, which seems to be the contest of the hour. No, I don't assume good faith. SkepticalRaptor (talk) 21:21, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
I have no idea why you wouldn't assume good faith, since that's what every WP user and editor is supposed to do. Also, please remember that, when several people are trying to edit an article, edit conflicts make it difficult to get everything written (including references) that needs to be. Perhaps also waiting ten or fifteen minutes to do another Google search (or turning on a news station, whether TV or radio) would have reassured you that very well-meaning editors weren't simply concocting something but instead were acting on information they'd just heard. Since the cause of death was reported from the beginning as pancreatic cancer, I think editors could put much more faith in the announcement. Although this article has apparently been subjected to vandalism in the past, I'm not sure why anyone would conclude that a number of editors who had no previous experience with the article would want to maliciously rush in to kill Sally Ride off before her actual death. Scrawlspacer (talk) 23:47, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

She's dead Jim! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:48, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 23 July 2012 "communitcates"[edit]

In the caption of the image next to the Awards and Honors section it says, "communitcates"; this is clearly a typo of "communicates". Alphacheez (talk) 21:32, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Already done by Scrawlspacer. —HueSatLum 21:56, 23 July 2012 (UTC)


I see that some editors have added her to two LGBT-related categories today, after her death was announced. This is probably due to the CNN article on her death with a sentence that states, "Ride is survived by her partner of 27 years, Tam O'Shaughnessy, her mother, her sister, and other family members." While the name mentioned is typically identified as a female name, Ms. Ride never identified with the LGBT movement nor publicly identified herself as a lesbian. I am not sure that categorizing her as "LGBT" is appropriate, as she never really "came out". WTF? (talk) 22:23, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Until there is some reliable source supports this, it needs to stay out of this article. O'Shaughnessy was COO of Sally Ride Science so the "partner" may refer to that. It's not our job to make any connections here.--RadioFan (talk) 22:27, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Interestingly, some members of the gay community seems to already be accepting her as a lesbian[1] -- though I don't think I'd accept as a credible source here, as they're likely just using the aforementioned statement as a "source" regarding her "coming out". WTF? (talk) 22:32, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
The reference to O'Shaughnessy as "partner" originated from a Sally Ride Science press release issued after Ride's death. [2] O'Shaughnessy was mentioned before anyone else and wasn't lumped in with coworkers or colleagues. Just my reading but it seems that Ride intended to come out posthumously.EvWill (talk) 22:45, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
CNN and the NYT are both reporting O'Shaughnessy as her partner of 27 years, so I think we're safe here. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 22:55, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
I agree that she intended to come out posthumously. If we wait a few days clearer documentation about her relationship with O'Shaughnessy should be available. --Crunch (talk) 22:58, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
That didn't take long. How's this for documentation about their relationship? It says Ride was open about her homosexuality. Is that true? --Crunch (talk) 23:01, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Ride could have been open about her orientation within her own personal circle but there's no documentation to my knowledge that she revealed it during her lifetime to the general public.EvWill (talk) 23:11, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Until Wikipedia articles state explicitly that the subjects were heterosexual, I'm at a loss to understand why someone's being gay or lesbian should be mentioned, either. Did her sexual preference / orientation affect her contributions to science in some way that makes it relevant?--This is ridiculous. Should we not state that someone is blind until we also state that all other people can see?
@Crunch about the ibtimes article you cited. Where does it say she was "open about her homosexuality?" The article says "open about her partnership" and "was Sally Ride's partner for 27 years, but their partnership was cut short Monday." Her official NASA[3] is silent on the partnership and her Sally Ride Science[4] only use the words "partner" and "partnership." FWIW, she was married to a male astronaut for a while. --Marc Kupper|talk 17:55, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Did her being a women affect her contributions to science in some way that makes it relevant? Because that is not only mentioned, it is the subject of the second sentence. DAVilla (talk) 01:31, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
No, it wasn't relevant to her science contributions. The reason it is notable is because it is totally relevant to her sociology contributions. Ride understood this aspect to be so important that after NASA she created a sexist organization in an effort to help restore the balance. Yes, Sally Ride was sexist. She fully practiced reverse discrimination. Notice that the article states that Sally Ride Science had "a particular focus on girls." Ride was not on a mission to inspire girls and boys. She wanted to reach the girls. She knew first hand how disadvantaged that group is. And NASA itself has fully embraced the sexist practice of reverse discrimination. This is how Ride became an astronaut in the first place. She was not hired because she was the most qualified person for the job. She got picked as an astronaut because she was the most qualified woman.
The struggle in the 80s was gender-based. The struggle today has expanded to become orientation-based. These are sociological issues, not science issues. And Sally Ride was on the front lines. She put so much energy in dealing with that first struggle (gender) that perhaps she decided she did not have the energy to open a second front with her other struggle (orientation). That was done for her after she died.
Yet both struggles are notable, and need to be stated in this article. I've stated elsewhere on this page that this is the most notable aspect of her life. Not any advances in science. It was her pioneering effort of expanding our society. She is America's first female astronaut, a realm that before her had been strictly male. And in her death she became the first of that group to be publicly acknowledged as homosexual. THIS is Sally Ride's legacy. And if we fail to convey that in this article, then we have fallen way short in our duty to bring pertinent facts to light.--Tdadamemd (talk) 02:54, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Here are some different angles...
Imagine the Talk page on MLK if editors were objecting to the fact that the article states he was black. Hello, this IS the notability. Sally Ride first and foremost was a pioneer of breaking social barriers. The fact that she was also an astronaut, a scientist, etc all falls in behind that primary aspect.
Another great pioneer was Nicolaus Copernicus. Do you know what history remembers him for? A treatise that he refused to have reach the public until after he was dead. He was well aware that the public state of intellectual development was not ready to grasp what he knew as truth. So instead of coming out of the celestial closet while he was alive, he chose to not fight that battle and just let us deal with it after we buried him. From the article on him:
"He made only a very few manuscript copies available to his closest acquaintances"
This period spans 1514 until the year of his death in 1543, which is ironically very close to the same number of years that Sally Ride remained private with her own situation.--Tdadamemd (talk) 03:18, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Yay! She might have been a dyke! Just like all those jews the mormon's baptize may have actually been mormons. But unless she identified herself or otherwise made her sexuality public, it is not the job of an encyclopedia to speculate on it. Leave it out. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:23, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

International Business Times is a perfectly good source. "Though Sally Ride was open about her partnership with Tam O'Shaughnessy, it does not appear to have been a controversial topic." Bmclaughlin9 (talk) 23:31, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

With credible sources, I guess it makes sense that the article can be tagged and categorized as such. Though one might wonder if it was Ms. Ride or her partner that wrote the obituaries and intended to "come out" posthumously? Irregardless, I wouldn't make a big deal about it in the article. Sally Ride was an "accomplished astronaut", not an "accomplished lesbian". WTF? (talk) 23:51, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Just FYI, the Infobox for astronaut doesn't seem to provide for spouse or partner. That's why Steve Hawley was never listed there. See: here Bmclaughlin9 (talk) 23:57, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Confirmed by Sally Ride's sister and a Sally Ride Science spokeswoman. New Times Broward-Palm Beach EvWill (talk) 00:25, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

While it has been confirmed by her sister that she was in a same-sex relationship, no official source has identified Ride as lesbian, from what I have seen-- it's just as likely (and possibly MORE likely, given her first marriage) that she was bisexual. Perhaps the word "queer" would be more appropriate than "lesbian" in this article, given the ambiguities that exist. Outoftheazul (talk) 02:03, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Indeed, and note also that in saying "the first lesbian", the article is also making an assumption about the sexualities of Valentina Tereshkova and Svetlana Savitskaya. (They were both married, but inferring anything from that would be unreferenced synthesis.) "Queer" is a more political term; it might be appropriate if Ride had publically identified as queer, but as far as I know she didn't. --David-Sarah Hopwood ⚥ (talk) 02:30, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
There's another logical gap: according to this bio, Tam O’Shaughnessy was Sally Ride's partner of 27 years, i.e. since 1985. But the article says that "in 1983 [Ride] became the first American woman, the first lesbian [...] to enter space", and it doesn't logically follow that she was a lesbian in 1983. (It does sometimes happen that people's sexuality can change significantly in two years; mine did.) --David-Sarah Hopwood ⚥ (talk) 02:43, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── with 2 reasonably good sources including confirmation from her sister and a spokesperson for Sally Ride Science I think it reasonable to include something brief in the article. No labels, no dwelling on it. Just include that this information came to light in her obit.--RadioFan (talk) 02:45, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

For those interested in another good source with more quotes from her sister Bear: BuzzFeed: Chris Geidner, First Female U.S. Astronaut, Sally Ride, Comes Out In Obituary Bmclaughlin9 (talk) 02:51, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Yes, that wasn't the issue I or Outoftheazul were pointing out. The current state of the article, with sexuality mentioned in the 'Personal life' and 'Death' sections but not in the lede, and not making any assumptions about lesbian vs bisexual, seems fine. --David-Sarah Hopwood ⚥ (talk) 03:03, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
  • If it turns out that she was lesbian when she went into space I don't see why we shouldn't list it in the lead. Drmies (talk) 03:02, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
For the same reason John Glenn's article doesn't begin with "first breeder in orbit."
Yuri Gagarin?
Actually, John Glenn was technically the first breeder to orbit the Earth -- Gagarin was only the first in space -- he didn't orbit before Glenn. Not that it's significant -- jus' sayin',. . . WTF? (talk) 15:14, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Here's more on her intentions with confirmation from family members. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:06, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

I agree that this shouldn't be mentioned in the lead section, but is it really necessary to mention this in BOTH the personal life and death section, especially when both sections are right next to each other? The way it's written makes it kind of look a bit redundant,. . . WTF? (talk) 03:12, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

BLP is for living people, not dead people, but the spirit of BLP should apply to all people, dead or alive. The current version of the article states " The fact that Ride was in a lesbian relationship with O'Shaugnessy was made by both Ride's sister and by a spokesperson for Sally Ride Science. "
We do NOT know this for a fact and Sally Ride cannot refute it because she is dead. A more objective version could be "The report that Ride was in a lesbian relationship with O'Shaugnessy was made bt both Ride's sister and by a spokesperson for Sally Ride Science after her death."

Auchansa (talk) 03:28, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

  • Sorry, but WTF? That's pushing it. Let's not be silly about this: she was a lesbian and she was in a relationship with this woman. Get over it. WTF?, I don't see why this shouldn't be in the lead. It is important to a hell of a lot of people, and to some extent that decides what we report. That she was also a biped and had curly hair and went into space we deem not important, but if it is important that someone is the first woman to do something (or the first Jew, African-American, Republican), then maybe it is important also, at least to some people, that she might have been the first lesbian in space. Drmies (talk) 03:57, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Drmies, as was mentioned earlier, we don't actually know that she was a lesbian; we only know that she had a same-sex partner. She also had an opposite-sex partner before that, which makes it entirely possible that she was bisexual. Outoftheazul (talk) 04:47, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
  • I researched all her space flights and, according to the articles sited, her relationship began in 1985, but her last flight was in 1984. Unless we have something verifying she was in a same-sex relationship prior to 1985, she technically was not the first lesbian "in space", as she was married during her space flights. I absolutely think her orientation MUST be in the article because it is something important, the opener is innaccurate based on all the sources.Jncobbs (talk) 13:51, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia should stick to the facts. Being in a relationship with someone of the same sex does not automatically make you Lesbian/Gay. They could be Bisexual, one of a great variety of sexualities, or even consider themselves Straight. It's a self identification about your attraction, which no one else can know for certain. About as far as we can go is report on what people who knew Sally Ride have said, i.e. "x [reliable] source states she was a Lesbian", if that person said so in so many words. I would certainly be loath to put her in any LGBT categories if she never publicly stated that she was LGBT. ChiZeroOne (talk) 11:15, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Aren't you forgetting the B in LGBT stands for Bisexual? We have at least two reliable sources for Ms. Ride orientation, so I have no problem with the GLBT category....William 12:37, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Did you actually bother to read a single word of what I said? "They could be Bisexual, one of a great variety of sexualities, or even consider themselves Straight". Again as I said we have sources that claim a sexuality, and we are fully able to report those claims, but it is only Sally Ride that knows her sexual orientation(read it an understand it is not a label you can apply to someone else, as opposed to homosexual/heterosexual acts) as she did not state what it was during life. ChiZeroOne (talk) 14:19, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
I think the fact that she herself did not make any statements about it when she was alive and we only know about it from a minor statement about her survivorship in her obituary, probably says that she really didn't consider her sexual orientation to be that big of a deal. It probably is also somewhat of a silent statement that she did not wish to become somewhat of an idol of the gay community. I think this issue is significant and notable enough to have some mention in the article, but based on her own actions not making a big deal out of it, I wouldn't think the article should make a big deal out of it, either. WTF? (talk) 15:12, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, of course, the only reason gays and lesbians don't make public their relationships is because they don't think it's important. It's not at all to do with fear of homophobia or at the very least because she thought coming out may be controversial and compromise her role as a neutral apolitical role model. We don't know why she remained closeted, but saying it's because it was unimportant to her is highly presumptuous and somewhat ignorant of the struggle gays and lesbians face in society. (talk) 20:52, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
As much as I believe this should be included in the article, probably in the lead, I think we can all agree that Sally Ride was not transgender. Less sarcastically, I'm not inclined to label her LGBT. Just as Barack Obama was not the first negro president, I would prefer to determine how she referred to herself. DAVilla (talk) 01:40, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Comments from her sister, as quoted in RS news stories, are indicating that she was gay (despite marriage to Hawley, it seems). I think we'll want to stick with the LGBT category for now and perhaps wait for more clarity before putting a lesbian category on. –Roscelese (talkcontribs) 17:20, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Does this make her the first known LGBT astronaut? (talk) 20:42, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

This discussion and some of the logical contortions being used to justify such ignorance; is a testament to human stupidity. I can't be bothered to try and suss out an individuals agenda but this whole discussion is bordering on insulting to Sally and her family. If this is the sort of reasoning used to hammer an article to fit some mold, just shows shoddy skills in both logic and common decency. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:29, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Since her accomplishments are monumental and groundbreaking for women in the field of science, why should her sexuality be a primary concern in this article? After her death, it was revealed that she had a partner for nearly twenty-seven years, which again reiterates how she wanted to be respected as a scientist and keep her personal life private. Ride did not want the public to focus on her sexuality or gender, but however this is what the public chooses to focus on now. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:41, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

The contributor then goes on to state: “No, it wasn't relevant to her science contributions. The reason it is notable is because it is totally relevant to her sociology contributions.” This statement addresses the complex ideology of whether or not to address the struggle of those who are underrepresented in the STEM fields. Should we choose to focus on the obstacles people must overcome or rather focus solely on their accomplishments as a scientist? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:52, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

You know that she was once married?[edit]

Steve Hawley's Web page has this, but Sally's does not. It is not even on her Wikpedia page. SUPPOSEDLY, He had to endure jokes about being "Mr. Sally Ride". He was the Ph.D. student of her friend. I am not yet certain, but he has probably been informed of her death. (talk) 22:37, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

I am not sure what you're looking at because the article [Which one?] mentions her marriage to Hawley.
SarekOfVulcan (talk) 22:50, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Caught that. My error. But it's also not in the side bar. Less of a biggie. I'm just scrap this talk section tomorrow. (talk) 23:21, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Just FYI, the Infobox for astronaut doesn't seem to provide for spouse or partner. That's why Steve Hawley was never listed there. See: here Bmclaughlin9 (talk) 23:57, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

It probably should. Other biographical info boxes have spouses and children (even if not current or accurate). (talk) 17:10, 30 July 2012 (UTC)


She was director of California Space Institute (Calspace) which was small University of California multicampus unit. Her deputy director was David Rodgers at that time. They both resigned their positions, somewhat suddenly, by sending email about it to their co-workers. The institute survived for a few years in very limited form. Pcirrus2 (talk) 03:03, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 24 July 2012[edit]

In the section "After NASA", second paragraph, first sentence, the bit that includes "...Ms. Ride was the only public figure..." should read "...Dr. Ride was the only public figure..." (talk) 10:09, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Actually, it should read simply "Ride was the only public figure", and I see that someone has already made that change. Rivertorch (talk) 18:30, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Change template[edit]

{{Infobox astronaut}} is missing a number of params used in other bio articles (from {{Infobox person}}), like spouse, partner, children, parents, etc. It seems the intent of such templates for professions might be to focus on the professional aspects of the person, and we are to include them as a module under {{Infobox person}} if we want to include the more generic bio stuff, which is what I've done.


  • What's the policy on using "Dr." as a title for Ph.D.s? Where and when? It seemed appropriate for her partner (no reason not to use it), but which instances of Dr. Ride should include it?
  • I wasn't sure about listing the years (1985–2012 (Ride's death)). I've seen it without the notation of (x's death), but this can be ambiguous. OTOH, the second set of parens is ugly, too.

—[AlanM1 (talk)]— 11:38, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Regarding the "Dr.", WP:CREDENTIAL discourages it. (talk) 13:52, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Please add to the "After NASA" section the following: Dr. Ride was a member of the Board of Trustees for The Aerospace Corporation from 10 June 2004 until her death.[1] — Preceding unsigned comment added by Susanmccw (talkcontribs) 14:23, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Regarding the "Dr." and the edit request above, if "Dr." isn't necessary (it does seem sort of extraneous), then I really think "Ms." is unnecessary too. Better to just say "... Ride was the only public figure ..." (talk) 17:04, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Yes. WP:CREDENTIAL says that we don't use honorifics in article prose - not that we must use the wrong ones. Fixed. –Roscelese (talkcontribs) 17:14, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

First homosexual in space?[edit]

Now that she's been posthumously "outed" is Sally Ride the first known gay or lesbian astronaut? (talk) 20:40, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Hard to say. She was married at some time to a male astronaut. It is not up to us on wikipedia to say so she was a first without a secondary source concluding such. --Wlmg (talk) 21:22, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Until there is absolute confirmation of the sexual orientation of everyone who went into space before her, this fact cannot be stated. --Crunch (talk) 22:24, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
That is not necessarily true. If multiple reliable sources become available declaring or even intimating Ride as the first LGBT in space that is enough to merit inclusion.--Ziggypowe (talk) 01:43, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
And how could they make such a definitive declaration, without prying into the personal lives of every single person who has gone into space before her? Will Valentina Tereshkova be getting calls from Perez Hilton demanding to know if she really loved her husbands, or if they were merely beards? No. With an ostensibly authoritative Web site like Wikipedia, you have to rely on the (reliable) information you have, and unfortunately, with LGBT issues, that is not always possible. --SchutteGod (talk) 01:57, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
First gay or lesbian in space? Probably not, since the evidence shows that she was married to a male astronaut at the time she went in space. Her lesbian relationship didn't begin until after her last mission. To be honest, given the fact that her "outing" came posthumously, as well as the fact that it was done in a minor way by stating that she was survived by a female partner, I think she wants to be known and remembered for her accomplishments in her life and what she did, not as "America's first lesbian astronaut". Unfortunately, there are plenty of folks in the gay community that are constantly seeking heroes and celebrities to justify their cause, so in the coming weeks it will probably not be hard to find a reliable source stating that she's our first gay astronaut. WTF? (talk) 02:25, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

FWIW - Seems There May Be (at least?) The Following (possibly reliable?) Reference Sources re Dr. Sally Ride As The First Lesbian In Space =>

In Any Case - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 02:40, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

This is a huge fact. One giant leap, as they say. I went ahead and added this to the lede. Thanks for those references.--Tdadamemd (talk) 05:15, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Someone must also add this information in some form in the crux or body or the article also. You cannot have something in the lead not mentioned or elaborated on in the body of the article.--Ziggypowe (talk) 06:18, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Ok, done.--Tdadamemd (talk) 07:04, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────First off, "homosexual" is an outdated term. Second, the sources cited do not use the term "homosexual." Third, we use the identifier someone prefers, and she did not specifically state whether she considered herself lesbian, bisexual (she was once married to a man), or something else. I've tried to rewrite the lede to reflect the complex situation accurately. Jokestress (talk) 08:59, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

While I completely agree with your points and the spirit of the rewrite, it is similarly inaccurate to describe them as being in a "Lesbian partnership". As you say yourself there is no evidence that either considered themselves Lesbian. It would be more accurate to say "same-sex partnership", without presuming their sexual orientation. ChiZeroOne (talk) 09:11, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Totally agree, excellent change. Jokestress (talk) 09:26, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
The confirmation came from Ride's sister. She made it clear that the obit was not referring to the duration of their "business partnership". It was an intimate life-mate partnership, significant enough to list it before her mother or any other relationship Ride had.
And Jokestress, your rewrite has totally clobbered the significance of this week's event. It totally ignores the fact that Sally is first because of this disclosure. And the identifier that is most appropriate for an encyclopedia is not what the person may have preferred. The term to use is the one that happens to be the most accurate. Having been in a hetero-marriage in decades past does not by itself make her bi-. She had that spouse then, followed by a female life-mate for the last nearly-three decades of her life. 'Homosexual' is a perfectly valid assessment given the facts as they stand. And Sally Ride was the first. This needs to be re-added to the lede.
I will go so far as to assert that this is the most significant aspect of her legacy. She was not the first woman in space. That was done two decades before her. She was not the youngest person in space. Gherman Titov was 25. Ride's most notable aspect is this one fact, that you've diluted down to near-insignificance.--Tdadamemd (talk) 09:49, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── What utter rot. It is, at this point, entirely unclear as to whether the posthumous acknowledgement of her long-term same-sex relationship will have a significant impact on popular perception of the subject. What is very clear is that it had no impact on public perception of the subject until her death. I've removed it from the lead for the time being. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 09:53, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

It is a feeble encyclopedia that selects its content based on public perception, as it is the job of an encyclopedia to educate the public. As for the fact that her orientation had no impact prior to her death, that's as pertinent as the fact that she had no public impact on the cause of pancreatic cancer. She gave no public disclosure of either fact while she was alive. The impact on both are happening now, now that the information has come to light. ...and that is the job of our collective editing process here: to bring pertinent information to light.--Tdadamemd (talk) 10:34, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not a soapbox or means of promotion. If you can't or won't understand that, then you should not be editing biographies. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 11:10, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
What I've been promoting here are those pesky things known as facts.--Tdadamemd (talk) 19:56, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

"First off, "homosexual" is an outdated term." It is? I'll have to let my homosexual daughter know about this development. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:23, 12 March 2014 (UTC)


The added sentence, "Ride is thus the first person to have been in space whose same-sex relationship was publicly acknowledged" is confusing. Her only publicly-acknowledged same-sex relationship began after she was in space. So to be accurate, it should probably say, "Ride is thus the first person to have been in space whose later same-sex relationship was publicly acknowledged." --Crunch (talk) 12:43, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Secondary sources do use the term "homosexual" [5]--Wlmg (talk) 15:17, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm sure other foreign outlets and conservative religious outlets reporting on the topic will, too. It's still outdated in her country of origin: "Many modern style guides in the U.S. recommend against using homosexual as a noun, instead using gay man or lesbian.[26] Similarly, some recommend completely avoiding usage of homosexual as it has a negative, clinical history and because the word only refers to one's sexual behavior (as opposed to romantic feelings) and thus it has a negative connotation. Gay and lesbian are the most common alternatives." Jokestress (talk) 17:18, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Your quote runs counter to the very first line from that article:
"homosexuality refers to "an enduring pattern of or disposition to experience sexual, affectionate, or romantic attractions" primarily or exclusively to people of the same sex".
And that entire lede of four paragraphs makes no mention about the word being derogatory. I find it especially ironic for anyone to propose "gay" as a term that has less derogatory connotations. In the US, "gay" is very often used as a synonym for very negative words that have absolutely nothing to do with sexuality. But obviously the entire issue has been in flux for years, so the lack of consensus here does not come as any surprise. Ideally we could have this discussion by presenting wholly rational arguments while keeping emotions in check.--Tdadamemd (talk) 21:50, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
I've tweaked the wording a little. Not especially happy with it, but that's about as neutral as can be from the current sourcing. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 18:06, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Agreed, the wording may feel stretched, but at least in appears painstakingly correct with respect to our policies and sources. --j⚛e deckertalk 18:22, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Stretched to the point of uselessness. And it even leaves out a critical qualifier: "Ride is thus the first person to have been in space whose later same-sex relationship was publicly acknowledged 31 years later." You're honestly telling me it is a significant historical footnote for a then-"straight" woman to be outed publicly three decades later upon her death?? This is ridiculous. You're not going to win any "Gays in Space!" points on this one, I'm afraid. Just be glad that Sally Ride was the first American woman in space who also happened to love a woman during the latter part of her life. Stop using Wikipedia to politicize her private life. --SchutteGod (talk) 21:34, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
This is already a compromise from more succinct reporting I'd prefer, like "Ride is the first known LGBT astronaut." [6] Like it or not, the issue and the debate around it are both notable. There's already analysis which examines the generational shift in being out, etc. [7] Even the debate here is getting coverage. [8] Jokestress (talk) 21:52, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
The debate is notable. Being a lesbian woman who was only outed posthumously and who was, in fact, involved in a traditional marriage when she went to space is not. There is no way of knowing if Ride considered herself a lesbian when she actually went to space -- and as she was married to a man at the time, she probably did not. "First lesbian in space" would be an appropriate inclusion, were it verifiable; "First woman in space who was revealed be in a lesbian relationship three decades later" is not. However, "First American woman in space" and "She was also revealed to have been in a same-sex partnership later on in life" are both appropriate inclusions. Why can't we just stick to the facts, without trying after-the-fact to make her a pioneer for the advancement of LGBTs? --SchutteGod (talk) 15:56, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
SchutteGod, while I do agree with what you just said about how to include it, you shouldn't be placing labels on people, accusing them of trying "to make her a pioneer for the advancement of LGBTs". They are simply trying to figure out the best way of including the information. Please WP:AGF, because to me, how you said what you said was unseemly. Thank you. – Teammm (talk · email) 16:07, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

I've added the Spaceflight and LGBT portals; Dr. Sally Ride merits inclusion. kencf0618 (talk) 05:29, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

The LGBT portal has been removed as per the above discussion as being "entirely inappropriate." Discuss. kencf0618 (talk) 22:33, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Mention in lead[edit]

I've restored thumperward's removal of the sentence in the lead per WP:LEAD, and simplified the wording to avoid the "she was married before" argument and per the proper weight in proportion to the overall length of the article. Arguments that this is part of the "gay agenda" is irrelevant and pretty damn close to the censorship. The number of references mentioning this proves it is notable, the only argument should be how it should be stated, not if.

I'm also not quite comfortable with stating outright that she was gay or LGBT, as that does indeed sound too political. But it still must be mentioned. Only an idiot would still argue that she wasn't really gay because she didn't say so. Being in a romantic relationship with another woman for 27 years is what then? A really long slumber party? A better way, I think, is to mention her partner's name and let the reader draw the conclusion. -- OBSIDIANSOUL 12:59, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

So you edit warred against consensus to restore a comment added by an editor to whom I've just issued a firm warning for repeatedly inserting either poor or blatantly inappropriate content into the leads of biographies. This is not an important aspect of Ride's life (as she kept it private), and it has not yet been shown to have a significant impact on her death (gushing commentary on the Huffington Post following her NTY obituary aside). The material is still included in the article body, where it is assigned due weight. You're now going to explain why you called me a censor, and then very clearly state what evidence you use to suggest that this should be given prominence in the rather anaemic lead section of an astronaut who achieved significant fame for the public aspects of her life, or it's going to be removed again. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 14:44, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

The lead should be fine now. Please don't argue. Thank you. Have a good day. Teammm (talk · email) 15:03, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

@thumperward, LOL... and you're an administrator? Surely you have much more solid reasons than that? You removed the sentence because of a nonexistent consensus and because it was part of an "agenda". Neither is a real acceptable rationale. WP:LEAD, however, exists and clearly says what should be done. The Huffington Post is still a source, despite the target audience obviously not being you and Fred Phelps. It's a fact, something not you or anyone else can deny (though there's the weakass argument that she was married when she was younger, so she has to be not gay). Just because she kept it private in life does not mean you're obligated to keep it hidden afterwards either. Stop pretending that removing it is motivated by anything else than a desire to keep it shoved in a deep dark closet where the sensitive souls don't have to get confronted with an inconvenient aspect of her life. Because 27 years.... LOL... and you still call that "unimportant". How'd you like it if your wife's (if you're married, of course) obituary carefully omits you because everyone else does not approve of your marriage? And lastly, "edit-warring"... *rolls eyes* I reverted only once and immediately posted my reason here. Stop waving the big admin stick around, it doesn't scare me.
And yes, moot point. Much better, Teammm, thank you. -- OBSIDIANSOUL 15:37, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't know whether bringing my admin status up was an attempt to insulate you from this, but consider this your only warning not to label editors who disagree with your actions as homophobes ever again without extremely strong grounds. Teamm's edit was vastly better than your warring and barely-restrained personal attacks. Argh, this place is a cesspit sometimes. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 17:05, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
Where precisely did Obsidian Soul label any editor as a homophobe? His language is a bit more colourful than I might choose, but I don't see this accusation among it. Peter coxhead (talk) 22:54, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
"Stop pretending that removing it is motivated by anything else than a desire to keep it shoved in a deep dark closet" and "How'd you like it if your wife's obituary ... omits you because everyone else does not approve of your marriage" can have no other honest interpretation. I'm somewhat dismayed at even having to explain this. Follow up on my talk if required. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 23:25, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
That doesn't even deserve a reply. -- OBSIDIANSOUL 04:10, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
Nevertheless I'll give one. The quote accuses you of censorship, not homophobia. It's not homophobic to think that it's appropriate to show discretion in publishing information about a person's sexuality, particularly if that person didn't seem to be very keen on it being published. Whether such discretion panders to other people's homophobia is an issue to be debated (Obsidian Soul appears to think it does), but condemning discretion, however colourfully, does not of itself constitute an accusation of homophobia. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:02, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

The net effect of this argument is at present rather odd: Sally Ride is described as having a partner Tam O'Shaughnessy but Tam O'Shaughnessy is described as having a life partner Sally Ride. There seems no justification for asymmetry, whatever term in used. Peter coxhead (talk) 22:54, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Agree. Per WP:BLUE, it's "life partner", as that's obviously what the sources mean. "Partner" does nothing other than obfuscate. -- OBSIDIANSOUL 04:03, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

Okay. Teammm T·M 22:58, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Unsuitable synonyms[edit]

"Intimate partner". Is this really necessary? The relevant material is in the text. Furthermore, the relationship is not purely an "intimate" one; there was a significant business partnership as well. I think this change should be reverted. "Partner" alone works fine here, and I doubt we'd be arguing that the word "intimate" were needed if the relationship were between partners of the opposite sex. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 11:03, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

How about "business and life partner"? Jokestress (talk) 11:07, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Better. Still undue emphasis (again, we'd be unlikely to have people wanting a qualifier if this were a heterosexual relationship), but an improvement over the present wording. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 11:22, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
In most cases, we wouldn't have to qualify a heterosexual relationship, "wife", "husband" or "spouse" or "is married to" would carry the meaning. "intimate" and "romantic" might be undue weight, but "business and life" might be the best option. Note that the unqualified use of "partner" in Ride's self-authored obit was sufficiently ambiguous that WP:RS's went to Ride's sister for clarification. I don't see the problem with resolving that ambiguity for our own readers given that that clarification was made. We just need to keep the weight appropriate. --j⚛e deckertalk 18:16, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
At least for now, the issue has been made moot by the deletion of the image at Commons, thus obviating the need for a caption. It's important to note that this was only an issue as regards the image caption's unnecessary exposition: the article body still contains a fuller explanation. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 18:21, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Ahh, thanks for the clarification. Carry on.  :) --j⚛e deckertalk 18:23, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Norwegian ancestry has no source, please delete[edit]

Norwegian ancestry has no source. Could someone please delete it. But if it does have a source could someone say how norwegian she was. Sally Ride is actually more ethnically celtic (scottish and irish). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:47, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Removed, though there's no source to insert the professed alternative ancestry. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 17:34, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Her sister, in explaining the obit, refers to her Norwegian ancestry. [2] Obviously on the blog site, so this only satisfies WP:RS if it is considered non-contentious.-- (talk) 19:23, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
I think that easily satisfies RS for such a trivial, non controversial factual statement. Shadowjams (talk) 04:13, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

Biased language?[edit]

"Consequently, Ride's relationship has been attached to her space exploration achievements by those with a same-sex agenda even though she was married prior to her retirement from NASA." - Isn't "same-sex agenda" a politically charged term? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:55, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Reverted: missed due to intervening edits. Thanks. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 18:02, 25 July 2012 (UTC)


Prior to Portola Junior High School, she attended Encino Elementary School. Ammobox (talk) 17:46, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Sally Ride was also Contributing Editor of Sportswoman magazine in the late 1970's.[edit]

Leusher (talk) 02:09, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

Source says consulting editor, to be precise. Jokestress (talk) 20:01, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

Tam O'Shaughnessy article[edit]

A bio article on Tam O'Shaughnessy was just created, and I have strong doubts about her notability outside of her relationship to Sally Ride. That article seems to clearly fall under WP:NOTINHERITED, in my estimation. Peter G Werner (talk) 19:45, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

O'Shaughnessy has been been notable since the 1960s as one of the most accomplished tennis players in America. See WP:NTENNIS. In fact, that's how she met Ride. Her subsequent accomplishments have also been covered. Jokestress (talk) 19:58, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

"Life" partner[edit]

At this diff, User:Teammm changed "partner" to "life partner".

I then reverted the edit, stating "Not disputing the fact, but it's not the terminology used by the cited source. For a controversial issue like this, verbatim is probably safest." In fact, while I originally only looked at the first cite, all three cites carefully use the term "partner", not "life partner", in keeping with the obit that they are based on:

(cite 24 is a 2009 interview that doesn't mention their personal relationship).

Teammm then re-reverted, stating "First of all, it's not controversial; secondly, who's a clarification and doesn't take away from the source"

The LGBT section above certainly shows that it's controversial, and I believe we should stick to the wording used by the sources. What say you community? —[AlanM1 (talk)]— 21:18, 4 August 2012 (UTC)

Since this is too much of a controversy, I will change it back and wikilink the term "partner" to "life partner" as a compromise. - Teammm Talk
21:21, 4 August 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, I'd stick to the sources. kencf0618 (talk) 03:36, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
Sticking to the sources does not mean parroting only the literal meaning. Ask yourself. What do the sources mean when they say "partner"? Business partner? Tennis partner? Roommate? No the sources quite obviously mean "life partner". So why exactly is this controversial? If there was any doubt as to the relationship between Ride and O'Shaughnessy then it would be correct to challenge it. But there isn't. Doing so is little more than deliberate obfuscation. Again WP:BLUE. -- OBSIDIANSOUL 01:08, 19 October 2012 (UTC)
Yep, that was my point. But I didn't feel like arguing with them anymore. - Teammm. Talk
01:36, 19 October 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 9 May 2013[edit]

US Navy Ship and research vessel to be named after Sally Ride reference (talk) 21:29, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

Not done: please make your request in a "change X to Y" format. Please specify the exact, verbatim change for the edit you propose to the article. Thank you for bringing this to the attention of other editors. Hopefully another editor may make an edit based on this information, or you, or they, could reactivate this template if assistance is still required when the proposed content is written. Thanks again. Begoontalk 00:56, 10 May 2013 (UTC)
Added under a Legacy section. Victor Victoria (talk) 16:20, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

Janelle Monae song[edit]

If it is considered noteworthy enough to mention, could an editor add in the article that she has been paid tribute in a Janelle Monae song called "Sally Ride"? (talk) 21:24, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Not done: Other songs do not seem to be included, so it might be best to establish a consensus ahead of adding this to the article. Thanks, Celestra (talk) 03:19, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

Added a tributes section. Victor Victoria (talk) 16:28, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

Presidential Medal[edit]

I changed the part of this that said the medal was presented by President Obama to "Ride's family" to say that it was presented to her life partner. The video of the presentation ( clearly shows her partner receiving the medal; no other family is in evidence. I suppose you could say her life partner can be considered as part of her family, but it seems needlessly vague -- better to be specific & accurate.

P.S. Regarding the incredibly lengthy discussion above on LGBT, the Presidential citation said "an inspiration to the LGBT community". No doubt Cunningham et. al. would have jumped up and demanded proof from the President, had they been present.  :) T-bonham (talk) 01:56, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

Spelling correction request on 7 February 2014[edit]

Please correct "Thompson scattering" to "Thomson scattering" (remove the p) in the first paragraph of the page. Thanks. (talk) 20:53, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Funandtrvl (talk) 23:12, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

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