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Sally Ride's Partner Discusses the Life and Legacy of America's First Female Astronaut: VIDEO

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Last week, we reported that Sally Ride, the first female American astronaut in space who came out in her July 2012 obituary, was awarded a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom. Sally's life partner, Tam O'Shaugnessy, accepted the award on her behalf and gave a brief interview afterwards about Sally's life and her impact on the world.

On accepting Sally's award:

"...to represent her in such an important forum as a gay woman was really quite an honor. And I also think it sends a huge, wonderful message to the world about our country and equality and kind of the way things should be."

On Sally:

"She was very bright. She did great things. But by and large the way she lived her life was quietly, privately, and just working. She was much more interested in doing than in receiving awards and so on."

Check out the video interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Sally Ride's Partner Discusses the Life and Legacy of America's First Female Astronaut: VIDEO " »


Civil Rights Hero Bayard Rustin, Astronaut Sally Ride Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom Posthumously: VIDEO

Medal

President Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, to 16 people, including two gay people, both posthumously: Bayard Rustin and Sally Ride.

Also receiving the honor: Ernie Banks, Ben Bradlee, Bill Clinton, Daniel Inouye, Daniel Kahneman, Richard Lugar, Loretta Lynn, Mario Molina, Arturo Sandoval, Dean Smith, Gloria Steinem, Cordy Tindell "C.T." Vivian, Patricia Wald, and Oprah Winfrey.

Watch the full ceremony, AFTER THE JUMP...

RustinObama's remarks about Rustin (via transcript)

Now, early in the morning the day of the March on Washington, the National Mall was far from full and some in the press were beginning to wonder if the event would be a failure.  But the march’s chief organizer, Bayard Rustin, didn’t panic.  As the story goes, he looked down at a piece of paper, looked back up, and reassured reporters that everything was right on schedule.  The only thing those reporters didn’t know was that the paper he was holding was blank.  (Laughter.)  He didn’t know how it was going to work out, but Bayard had an unshakable optimism, nerves of steel, and, most importantly, a faith that if the cause is just and people are organized, nothing can stand in our way. 

So, for decades, this great leader, often at Dr. King’s side, was denied his rightful place in history because he was openly gay.  No medal can change that, but today, we honor Bayard Rustin’s memory by taking our place in his march towards true equality, no matter who we are or who we love.

RideAnd Sally Ride:

We salute innovators who pushed the limits of science, changing how we see the world -- and ourselves.  And growing up, Sally Ride read about the space program in the newspaper almost every day, and she thought this was “the coolest thing around.”  When she was a PhD candidate at Stanford she saw an ad for astronauts in the student newspaper and she seized the opportunity.  As the first American woman in space, Sally didn’t just break the stratospheric glass ceiling, she blasted through it.  And when she came back to Earth, she devoted her life to helping girls excel in fields like math, science and engineering.  “Young girls need to see role models,” she said, “you can’t be what you can’t see.”  Today, our daughters -- including Malia and Sasha -- can set their sights a little bit higher because Sally Ride showed them the way.

A military aide later spoke about them again as their partners accepted:

Tam O’Shaughnessy (top photo) accepting on behalf of her life partner, Dr. Sally K. Ride.  (Applause.)  Thirty years ago, Dr. Sally K. Ride soared into space as the youngest American and first woman to wear the Stars and Stripes above Earth’s atmosphere.  As an astronaut, she sought to keep America at the forefront of space exploration.  As a role model, she fought tirelessly to inspire young people -- especially girls -- to become scientifically literate and to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.  At the end of her life, she became an inspiration for those battling pancreatic cancer, and for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.  The tale of a quiet hero, Sally Ride’s story demonstrates that the sky is no limit for those who dream of reaching for the stars.  (Applause.)

Walter Naegle accepting on behalf of his partner, Bayard Rustin.  (Applause.)  Bayard Rustin was a giant in the American Civil Rights Movement.  Openly gay at a time when many had to hide who they loved, his unwavering belief that we are all equal members of a “single human family” took him from his first Freedom Ride to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights movement.  Thanks to his unparalleled skills as an organizer, progress that once seemed impossible appears, in retrospect, to have been inevitable.  Fifty years after the March on Washington he organized, America honors Bayard Rustin as one of its greatest architects for social change and a fearless advocate for its most vulnerable citizens.  (Applause.) 

Watch the full ceremony, AFTER THE JUMP...

If individual clips become available, I'll add them below.

Continue reading "Civil Rights Hero Bayard Rustin, Astronaut Sally Ride Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom Posthumously: VIDEO" »


Civil Rights Hero Bayard Rustin, Astronaut Sally Ride to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

Two LGBT heroes are among 16 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom announced today by President Obama. The award is the nation's highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.

RustinFrom the White House announcement:

Sally Ride (posthumous)

Sally Ride was the first American female astronaut to travel to space.  As a role model to generations of young women, she advocated passionately for science education, stood up for racial and gender equality in the classroom, and taught students from every background that there are no limits to what they can accomplish.  Dr. Ride also served in several administrations as an advisor on space exploration.

Bayard Rustin (posthumous)

Bayard Rustin was an unyielding activist for civil rights, dignity, and equality for all.  An advisor to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he promoted nonviolent resistance, participated in one of the first Freedom Rides, organized the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and fought tirelessly for marginalized communities at home and abroad.  As an openly gay African American, Mr. Rustin stood at the intersection of several of the fights for equal rights.

Also receiving the honor: Ernie Banks, Ben Bradlee, Bill Clinton, Daniel Inouye, Daniel Kahneman, Richard Lugar, Loretta Lynn, Mario Molina, Arturo Sandoval, Dean Smith, Gloria Steinem, Cordy Tindell "C.T." Vivian, Patricia Wald, and Oprah Winfrey.


Sally Ride to Receive Posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom

Sally Ride, the first female astronaut in space who came out in July 2012 in her obituary, will be awarded a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom, the White House announced today.

S_ride"Dr. Ride’s partner, mother, and sister were notified last week of the President’s decision to award her with the Nation’s highest civilian honor for her contributions to the U.S. space program and education system. The remainder of the honorees selected by the President will be announced over the coming weeks and the awards will be presented at a White House ceremony later this year," said the White house in a press release.

Said President Obama of the honor:

“We remember Sally Ride not just as a national hero, but as a role model to generations of young women. Sally inspired us to reach for the stars, and she advocated for a greater focus on the science, technology, engineering and math that would help us get there. Sally showed us that there are no limits to what we can achieve, and I look forward to welcoming her family to the White House as we celebrate her life and legacy.”


Lunar Impact Site Named for Astronaut Sally Ride

NASA announced today that the site where twin agency spacecraft impacted the moon Monday has been named for the first woman (and lesbian) in space, astronaut Sally Ride:

RideLast Friday, Ebb and Flow, the two spacecraft comprising NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission, were commanded to descend into a lower orbit that would result in an impact Monday on a mountain near the moon's north pole. The formation-flying duo hit the lunar surface as planned at 2:28:51 p.m.

PST (5:28:51 p.m. EST) and 2:29:21 p.m. PST (5:29:21 p.m. EST) at a speed of 3,760 mph (1.7 kilometers per second). The location of the Sally K. Ride Impact Site is on the southern face of an approximately 1.5 mile- (2.5 -kilometer) tall mountain near a crater named Goldschmidt.

"Sally was all about getting the job done, whether it be in exploring space, inspiring the next generation, or helping make the GRAIL mission the resounding success it is today," said GRAIL principal investigator Maria Zuber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. "As we complete our lunar mission, we are proud we can honor Sally Ride's contributions by naming this corner of the moon after her."

The impact marked a successful end to the GRAIL mission, which was NASA's first planetary mission to carry cameras fully dedicated to education and public outreach. Ride, who died in July after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer, led GRAIL's MoonKAM (Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students) Program through her company, Sally Ride Science, in San Diego.

Along with its primary science instrument, each spacecraft carried a MoonKAM camera that took more than 115,000 total images of the lunar surface. Imaging targets were proposed by middle school students from across the country and the resulting images returned for them to study. The names of the spacecraft were selected by Ride and the mission team from student submissions in a nationwide contest.

"Sally Ride worked tirelessly throughout her life to remind all of us, especially girls, to keep questioning and learning," said Sen.  Barbara Mikulski of Maryland. "Today her passion for making students part of NASA's science is honored by naming the impact site for her."

Sally Ride's posthumous coming out was named by Towleroad as one of "the 50 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2012" in a list we published this morning.

Check out all the names HERE.


I'm Gay: The 50 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2012

2012

2012: GAYEST YEAR EVER

"The fact is, I'm gay." Anderson Cooper's long-awaited announcement sums what it meant to come out in 2012. Again and again we heard the same sentiment — from pop singer Mika's equally anticipated confirmation, "If you ask me am I gay, I say yeah," to actor Andrew Rannells casually remarking about relating to a gay character, "I am gay in real life, so I definitely get it." —  proving that coming out today is in many cases a non-event, and certainly secondary to other achievements.

Yes, a lot has changed in the 15 years since Time magazine ran that cover of Ellen DeGeneres declaring, "Yep, I'm Gay," and even in the six since Lance Bass told People, "I'm Gay." Entertainment Weekly published a cover story this summer called "The New Art Of Coming Out," concluding, "The current vibe for discussing one’s sexuality is almost defiantly mellow."

Yet most of this positive change has happened in familiar territory.

Former NFL star Wade Davis' coming out was a first, as was current professional boxer Orlando Cruz's. And Lee "Uncle Poodle" Thompson from Here Comes Honey Boo Boo helped broaden the overall discussion about LGBT people. But there are a few people on this list who were less valiant, like Republican Sheriff Paul Babeu, and still others who remained quiet about their sexuality to the day they died. The debate over balance between privacy and responsibility is still one worth having, and clearly there are more arenas where LGBT people need space to shine.

All in all, though, 2012 shows that gay people who break down that closet can have it all.

Who had the 50 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2012?

Find out (in alphabetical order), AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "I'm Gay: The 50 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2012" »


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