July has certainly been the month for a whole lot of heat and a bit of gay bashing — except the ones doing bashing are actually the gays. Apparently we can give as good as we get — case in point Sally Ride and Anderson Cooper.
Sally Ride is dead, and a lesbian, who knew? Apparently her family, friends and co-workers all knew, but the “world” didn’t. Andrew Sullivan of the Daily Beast recently labeled her “the absent heroine.” Well, personally, I think he got that wrong. She may not have been a gay icon, but Sally Ride gave hope to girls everywhere — letting them know that they too could “go where no one has gone before” and do it well, with dignity, courage, intelligence and a good dose of humility. It’s easy to point fingers at individuals who opt for personal privacy, especially if they’re dead, but do they deserve all this backlash?
Aren’t they entitled to privacy, just like straight people? We have no idea about the hows or whys of her decision, but I’m sure there are lots of variables involved. Her sister Bear Ride, a very out lesbian, explained it by saying, “She was just a private person who wanted to do things her way.” Does that mean her decision was driven by homophobia? Or is it just what her sister suggests — a desire to be out of the spotlight?
Perhaps for Sally Ride being gay was just that — “being gay” — and maybe that was enough, but these days in some circles individuals who opt to go that route for whatever reason are more often or not vilified. But frankly, it’s not the pre-’90s anymore, when being gay was really hard. Not that it’s easy now, but it is easier in the U.S. and Europe, that’s for sure. Sometimes I forget how hard, and often dangerous, it actually was back then. For Sally Ride being the lesbian astronaut back in the day, especially those days, would have certainly taken her out of the running for future missions, or even put her life at
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