This Pride, Be Inspired by Sally Ride's Legacy
Domestic Double Standard: What About Sally Ride's Partner? Sally Ride's domestic partner Tam O'Shaughnessy could receive Obituaries say Ride left NASA right around the time she began her relationship with. Sally Ride — the United States' first woman in space — has inspired countless of their relationship was "my national coming out, and Sally's too. Tam O' Shaughnessy and Sally Ride, while partners in adulthood, had been. Sally Ride and Tam O'Shaughnessy give keynote speech at Windy City Times: Can you tell us about your relationship with Sally Ride? Tam.
And one of them was it sort of made us immune to celebrity. Because as kids we were around famous people, like Rod Laver … I don't know if you know these tennis players, but the best tennis players in the world. What was one of the major life lessons you can recall from that time frame? And then as soon as you lose, they don't really … you're dropped.
It taught us, and it taught Sally, to not take celebrity too strongly.
Sally Ride & Tam O'Shaughnessy - Elisa - My reviews and Ramblings
It comes and goes, so make sure that what you care about, what you believe in, and who you are, are solid things. That's a really great lesson. And it makes sense.
Now I understand that when you went to the White House to accept Sally Ride's posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom recently, you were there along with Sally's family. Were they always accepting of your relationship? Sally never verbally, openly told her mother, her father, or her sister, Bear, that she was gay and that we were a couple. So over the almost three decades, I was really part of the Ride family. And her mother is very progressive.
Sally easily could have told her a long time ago, and Joyce Ride would not have cared, she would not have blinked. But it just shows how strong Sally's sense of privacy was, and also I think fear. Her mother actually turned 90 the day before the Medal of Freedom ceremony, so we had a big party at the Willard Hotel that we were all staying in.
We had a really good time and, actually, Joyce Ride had made friends with Gloria Steinem at Sally's first launch in and Gloria came to the birthday party. And we had fun. Well, that's what it's all about. At the end of the day it's all about family. How about your family, then? Were they accepting of your relationship with Sally?
Did they know about it? And the circuit was very close-knit and, of course, some of the women were gay, many others were not. And so I immediately, next time I was home, took my mother out for Mexican dinner and told her I was gay. I don't think she really liked it, but she never said anything bad or … we basically never talked about it again. I told them and they were … they wanted to try to understand, and they quickly did, and it was kind of no big deal. When I told my family it was the mids, but they had already lived through the '60s, so I think that helped.
Let's talk about Sally Ride Science. What was the starting point of the foundation?
It actually kind of evolved. And then after her first flight, of course for a while, she was the most famous person on earth and gave tons of talks. And she'd see that same … just that teachers and kids, parents, CEOs … the light would go off in their eyeballs when she'd talk about looking back at earth from space and floating weightless and floating grapes into the mouths of the other astronauts, and all these fun stories. And Sally realized she could use space as a way to motivate and inspire teachers and kids and science.
Sally Ride's Domestic Partner Won't Get Her Federal Benefits | ddttrh.info
And she also knew that she really felt like her life got made because she majored in science and physics. And it taught her to think for herself, be able to critically evaluate things about her community, about her own health, whatever. And so she didn't understand why kids didn't really like science, why they weren't good at it, why the scores were horrid.
And she kind of started getting into it. And what was your focus at this time? They couldn't get the gist of the information, so it's sort of like what's going on here? We've got to help kids at a very young age stay excited about science and really want to do the work to understand science concepts.
We just started talking about science education in our country and we just talked about it. And then we started writing children's science books together. How did the desire to release children's books together come to light? That kind of grew out of that same interest that both of us had, which was we loved to go to bookstores, and we'd look at the science section, but also science fiction, biographies, nutrition, whatever, we just loved book stores.
But what we noticed in the mids was that the science section had like three books in it, and the non-fiction was much slimmer than the fiction for kids. And then we'd pick up science books for kids, and they just weren't very good. Isaac Asimov wrote great children's science books. Anyway, we just thought, "Maybe we can do this. Our science writing worked really well and we just loved working on these books. And out of all of this, Sally Ride Science was born?
And this program has been going for 19 years now and it's still going.
This Pride, Be Inspired by Sally Ride's Legacy
But that turned out to just be a really exciting educational program with mission control for undergraduate students at UCSD and they did all the programming and so on for the camera on the shuttle and then the space station. But then the middle schools from around the country would send their selections to UCSD mission control, they would get relayed to NASA, to real mission in Houston, and then transmitted up to the space shuttle and later the space station, and the camera would get programmed, the photos that were selected by students would get snapped, and everything would get relayed backwards to UCSD and out to the schools.
All these experiences came together and we started talking to some of our friends about science education in our country not going so well, and maybe we can do something about it. But it's worked, and the good news is after Sally passed away, we were all really worried about our sponsors and would people still support the company without its charismatic leader?
And that also is a testament to Sally, because her vision for the company was to really make the company independent of her. That we would create excellent books and programs and events for students and teachers, and corporate America that would stand on their own … and we lucked out, that's what we did.
Where maybe you didn't agree on something or where the course of your relationship might have shifted because of work? Or did you guys keep that really separate? I think overall we actually did really well living and working together, and spending a ton of time together. So we were working too hard and then we were talking about the company too much. And that really helped.
We liked each other too much and we wanted that private romantic side there, too. But it took us a while because the company was just so absorbing. Unsurprisingly, Ride encountered a number of obstacles throughout her career, including insulting, gender-biased reporter questions like "whether I cried when we got malfunctions in the simulator," Ride said to Gloria Steinem in But while "our country was trying to do better by women's rights" by finally including women, O'Shaughnessy told Space.
O'Shaughnessy spoke openly with Space. But Ride's challenges with her sexuality didn't end with her professional status. O'Shaughnessy said Ride struggled internally with accepting her own sexuality. And while O'Shaughnessy said the decision to disclose their romantic partnership in Ride's obituary was difficult for her, she said that doing so "was amazing … it was just so freeing.
He asked O'Shaughnessy to accept the medal on behalf of Ride as her life partner, which "was surreal," O'Shaughnessy said.The Life of Sally Ride, America’s first woman astronaut, in pictures
She added that the experience and acknowledgement of their relationship was "my national coming out, and Sally's too. The organization continues in Ride's name to inspire young people of all backgrounds. As described by O'Shaughnessy, Ride was a nurturing person both in her personal and professional life. She supported all of the women who followed in her footsteps at NASA, "involving them in decision-making and kind of mentoring them. Here they can be seen together in Australia.