First lesbian astronaut Sally Ride honoured with stamp
Sally Ride, the first American woman in space has been honoured with a new stamp.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) announced a new stamp remembering the astronaut and scientist, which was unveiled on Wednesday.
In a ceremony revealing the design of the stamp attended by some of Ride’s friends and family, USPS praised the “trailblazing” Ride for her legacy.
“Sally Ride’s history-making journey has made it easier for young girls to dream of one day being an astronaut, an engineer, a physicist or a mathematician,” said USPS Chief Information Officer and Executive Vice President Kristin Seaver.
“Today, girls don’t just dream. Because of trailblazers like Sally Ride, they have been empowered to do!”
Ride’s partner Tam O’Shaughnessy greeted the news of the remembrance stamp, highlighting Ride’s life-long hobby of stamp collecting.
O’Shaughnessy said: “Sally started collecting stamps when she was a girl, and she continued to do so her whole life —especially stamps of the Olympics and space exploration.
“Sally would be deeply honoured to have her portrait on a U.S. stamp.”
Vice President Mike Pence shared the unveiling of the stamp, describing Ride as “courageous.”
Pence wrote on Twitter: “Today, the USPS dedicates the Sally Ride forever stamp to commemorate the first American woman to travel to space. Her courageous career as an astronaut and scientist inspired a nation.”
However, Pence was quickly shut down by multiple people who highlighted that Pence’s views and his track record as a politician are not supportive of LGBT people or women.
One Twitter user wrote: “She was also a lesbian in a relationship for nearly three decades – a relationship that you opposed granting legal recognition to for years as an elected official and that your administration continues to demean through litigation.”
Ride came out as a lesbian in her obituary after she died in 2012, aged 61, following a two-year battle pancreatic cancer.
The astronaut and physics professor reportedly kept her sexuality under wraps out of fear that it would negatively impact her career.
Ride entered space on the Challenger shuttle in June 1983 becoming the first American woman, and youngest-ever American, to do so. Two Soviet female astronauts had already flown missions.
She said afterwards she was “sure it was the most fun I’ll ever have in my life.”
In 2017 Ride was honoured by Danish toy company LEGO, who included the astronaut and physicist in their ‘Women in Space’ playset.
Maia Weinstock, a science writer, created the design which won the LEGO Ideas competition and said she included Ride in her designs because of her contributions towards science and space travel.
“What she did to support women and girls in the STEM fields is remarkable,” Weinstock told the Post.
“I knew I wanted to include her because she’s already fairly famous, so that would help the set gain some traction, but also because of all of the work she’s done post-NASA, to encourage young people to go into science,” she added.