Sally Ride's sister, Bear Ride, confirmed her sister's sexual orientation in an interview with Buzzfeed's Chris Geidner.
Bear says, "I hope it makes it easier for kids growing up gay that they know that another one of their heroes was like them."
See what else she had to say after the jump.
"Bear Ride, talking with BuzzFeed, said today, 'We consider Tam (Sally Ride's partner) a member of the family.'
Saying that her sister was a very private person, Bear Ride said, 'People did not know she had pancreatic cancer, that's going to be a huge shock. For 17 months, nobody knew -- and everyone does now. Her memorial fund is going to be in support of pancreatic cancer.'
'The pancreatic cancer community is going to be absolutely thrilled that there's now this advocate that they didn't know about. And, I hope the GLBT community feels the same,' Bear Ride, who identifies as gay, said.
'I hope it makes it easier for kids growing up gay that they know that another one of their heroes was like them,' she added.
Terry McEntee, a spokeswoman from Sally Ride Science, the company Ride formed to provide educational materials and programs for schools, confirmed to BuzzFeed that there had not, to her knowledge, previously been published acknowledgment of Ride and O'Shaugnessy's relationship.
Bear Ride, though, said that her sister 'never hid her relationship with Tam. They have been partners, business partners in Sally Ride Science, they've written books together .... Sally's very close friends, of course, knew.'
Of Sally Ride's sexual orientation, Bear Ride said, 'Sally didn't use labels. Sally had a very fundamental sense of privacy, it was just her nature, because we're Norwegians, through and through.'"
Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly in space, died today after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer.
It was also revealed today (in an obituary by her organization Sally Ride Science), that she's survived by a female partner, Tam O'Shaughnessy, with whom she was in a relationship for the past 27 years.
More after the jump.
Dr. Ride's sexual orientation obviously was her business and, as such, it was her choice to keep it private.
We can only assume that she gave her organization permission to reveal her sexual orientation and honor her relationship with her partner upon her death.
We're happy to have this trailblazer as part of our team, even after the fact.
Sally Ride's obituary follows:
"Sally Ride died peacefully on July 23rd, 2012 after a courageous 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Sally lived her life to the fullest, with boundless energy, curiosity, intelligence, passion, joy, and love. Her integrity was absolute; her spirit was immeasurable; her approach to life was fearless.
Sally was a physicist, the first American woman to fly in space, a science writer, and the president and CEO of Sally Ride Science. She had the rare ability to understand the essence of things and to inspire those around her to join her pursuits.
Sally’s historic flight into space captured the nation’s imagination and made her a household name. She became a symbol of the ability of women to break barriers and a hero to generations of adventurous young girls. After retiring from NASA, Sally used her high profile to champion a cause she believed in passionately—inspiring young people, especially girls, to stick with their interest in science, to become scientifically literate, and to consider pursuing careers in science and engineering.
In addition to Tam O’Shaughnessy, her partner of 27 years, Sally is survived by her mother, Joyce; her sister, Bear; her niece, Caitlin, and nephew, Whitney; her staff of 40 at Sally Ride Science; and many friends and colleagues around the country."
Image Source (Hat Tip: Huff Po)