Call me a buzz kill, however I think it's really a shame that Sally Ride was ashamed of being out about being a woman who was in a committed relationship with another woman. She was with her for 27 years and now there's a big uproar about her partner not getting her federal benefits.
Yeah, it's too bad that her partner isn't getting those benefits, just like it sucks that every other surviving same-sex partner and spouse is being denied 1,138 federal benefits. But unlike those other nameless couples, Sally Ride and her partner had a platform.
It's scarier to come out of the closet than it is to fly into space on a space shuttle!
The woman could fly into space, but she couldn't come out of the closet? She went out of our atmosphere in a rocket ship, but she couldn't advocate for LGBT equality in employment and relationship recognition? Seriously?
She could have made a huge difference here on Planet Earth by advocating for LGBT equality. Can you imagine the story? Leaving Earth's atmosphere was tough for Sally Ride, the first female astronaut, but coming out as a lesbian sent her spinning into orbit, rocked her to the Earth's core, but she did it because she knew she could make a positive difference on the planet as an advocate for LGBT rights.
I think it's sad that she chose not to lend her name to the marriage equality movement while she was alive, like New Jersey police officer, Lt. Laurel Hester. Lt. Hester advocated for marriage equality up until she took her last breath.
If we want our rights people need to know who we are and we need to stand up for ourselves. You can't live a double life, deny who you are out of shame and fear, and then expect to be treated equally. To get respect you must first respect yourself.
Also, we can't wait for society to be more "accepting" of us. We must accept ourselves and we must advocate for ourselves.
I appreciate that coming out is a process. As a therapist and a coach, I help people take steps towards coming out. However, if you're not actively working on coming out of the closet, than you are harming yourself, your own cause, and the LGBT community. Doesn't mean I don't love ya or think you are a good person, it means that I think you are letting fear get the best of you and you're not believing in yourself and those around you to rise to the occasion.
Please, if you or someone you love is in the closet, please get them help. And not from a therapist who is still in the closet. Again, I love ya, but you're not making the world a better place by pretending to be "straight."
If we can send a man to the moon, a woman into space, and discover the "God particle," by golly, we Americans can all come out of the closet! Enough said!
(Space shuttle image via Bigstock)