Sunday, October 27, 2013

Out Spotlight

Today's Out Spotlight was a physicist,  the first female American astronaut in space, the youngest astronaut sent into space and a National hero. Today's Out Spotlight is Dr. Sally Ride.

Born in Los Angeles on May 26, 1951, the eldest child of Dale Burdell Ride and Carol Joyce. She had one sibling, Karen "Bear" Ride, who is a Presbyterian minister. Both of parents served as elders in the Presbyterian Church. Her mother had worked as a volunteer counselor at a women's correctional facility and her father had been a political science professor at Santa Monica College.

Ride attended Portola Junior High (now Portola Middle School) and then Westlake School for Girls in Los Angeles (now Harvard-Westlake School) on a tennis scholarship. She excelled in science, while a nationally ranked tennis player. She attended Swarthmore College for three semesters, took physics courses at UCLA, and then entered Stanford University as a junior, graduating with a bachelor's degree in English and physics.

She continued to play tennis in college, and caught the attention of Billie Jean King, who encouraged Ride to play professionally. She decided to finish her education.

At Stanford, she went on to earn a master's degree and a Ph.D. in physics while doing research on the interaction of X-rays with the interstellar medium. She responded to a NASA recruiting ad and was one of 35 people—including six women— chosen from more than 8,000 applicants to join NASA in 1978. During her career, Ride served as the ground-based capsule communicator (CapCom) for the second and third space shuttle flights (STS-2 and STS-3) and helped develop the space shuttle's robot arm.

Ride was selected as a mission specialist aboard the space shuttle Challenger. On June 18, 1983, she became the first American woman in space as a crew member on space shuttle Challenger for STS-7. The five-person crew of the STS-7 mission deployed two communications satellites and conducted pharmaceutical experiments. Ride was the first woman to use the robot arm in space and the first to use the arm to retrieve a satellite.

Her second space flight was in 1984, also on board the Challenger. She spent a total of more than 343 hours in space. Ride, who had completed eight months of training for her third flight (STS-61-M, a TDRS deployment mission) when the space shuttle Challenger disaster occurred, was named to the Rogers Commission (the presidential commission investigating the accident) and headed its subcommittee on operations. Following the investigation, Ride was assigned to NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., where she led NASA's first strategic planning effort, authored a report entitled "NASA Leadership and America's Future in Space" and founded NASA's Office of Exploration.

She later became the only person to serve on the presidential commissions investigating both of the nation’s space shuttle tragedies—the Challenger explosion (1986) and the Columbia disaster (2003).

In 1987, she retired from NASA and became a science fellow at the Center for International Security and Arms Control at Stanford. In 1989, she joined the faculty at the University of California, San Diego as a professor of physics and director of the California Space Institute. In 2001, she founded Sally Ride Science, which motivates girls and boys to study science and explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Ride received numerous awards, including the National Space Society's von Braun Award, the Lindbergh Eagle, and the NCAA's Theodore Roosevelt Award. She was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame and the Astronaut Hall of Fame and was awarded the NASA Space Flight Medal twice. Two elementary schools in the United States are named after her: Sally K. Ride Elementary School in The Woodlands, Texas, and Sally K. Ride Elementary School in Germantown, Maryland.

In 1994, Ride received the Samuel S. Beard Award for Greatest Public Service by an Individual 35 Years or Under, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.

On December 6, 2006, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver inducted Ride into the California Hall of Fame at the California Museum for History, Women, and the Arts.

Ride was extremely private about her personal life. She married fellow NASA astronaut Steve Hawley in 1982; they divorced in 1987.

She passed away July 23, 2012 seventeen months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

It was after her death, her obituary revealed that Ride's partner of 27 years was Tam O'Shaughnessy, a professor emerita of school psychology at San Diego State University and childhood friend, who met Ride when both were aspiring tennis players. O'Shaughnessy became a science teacher and writer and, later, the co-founder, chief operating officer, and executive vice president of Ride's company, Sally Ride Science. O'Shaughnessy now serves as Chair of the Board of Sally Ride Science. They co-authored six books about climate change and space together. Their relationship was revealed by the company and confirmed by Ride's sister, who said that Ride chose to keep her personal life private, including her sickness and treatments. Ride is the first known lesbian astronaut.

In 2013, President Barack Obama awarded Ride a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“Young girls need to see role models. You can’t be what you can’t see.” 


Special K said...

PG I am moving you comment over to this version of the Out Spotlight

prairiegirl said...

Wow, that's an incredible story. Very sad to hear she had passed away just last year. And at such a young age, still.

I admire anyone who's willing to go way out there in outer space.

October 27, 2013 at 11:07 PM

prairiegirl said...

Ok that's cool. You know, I noticed last night that it only said Out, lol instead of Out Spotlight.

the real m said...

What a remarkable career. Too bad that she could not be open about her life until she passed away.

Having my usual up at an odd hour so surfing a bit till I am ready to fall asleep. Did anyone watch Bridegroom? Terrific documentary about a gay couple and the aftermath when one dies tragically. It was followed by Ophrah Winfrey interviewing 2 out actors and comedian Wanda Sykes. I hope the showings will be repeated.

prairiegirl said...

Austin being seen in NYC yesterday on 82nd Street at 3 in the afternoon is all kinds of interesting. First of all, because the guy is rarely recognized anywhere.

Second of all, even a direct flight from LAX to LAG is a little over 7 hrs long. Pretty doubtful he would have been tea partying it up with the dogs and ladies at 18:30 in the evening on Saturday before heading out to the airport. I suppose he could have gotten up early the next morning for an early flight but even a 6am flight would put you into NY after 1300 and then to immediately head out to the Spanish Harlem area for a stroll?

How likely is that? No, sorry, with the way these guys operate, the Tea party pic was planted to place Austin in LA as well as give a hint of more fauxmance lies to come.

prairiegirl said...

M, I haven't seen that show. It sounds terribly sad, though. Did Oprah's network show the documentary as well?

blocks and blocks off said...

and then to immediately head out to the Spanish Harlem area for a stroll?

LOL. 82nd Street, East OR West, not even close to Spanish Harlem.

minor issue said...

Spanish Harlem, known as El Barrio, is between 96th Street and 125th Street on the east side. The actual main artery of Spanish Harlem is East 116th Street. The tweeter mentioned, however, that he was helping out his son and #ElBarrio. That's probably where there is a bit of confusion. Jake has actually been seen on several occasions on both the west and east side of 82nd street so the point being made still stands about Austin taking a flight early Sunday morning. That photo was planted to make it seem like Austin was in Los Angeles. That's all that matters.

NYC said...

East 82nd or West 82nd are both terrific family neighborhoods and the children's museum is on W 83rd. If jake in fact has been looking for a bigger apartment maybe Austin is coming to look at the finalists.

prairiegirl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
prairiegirl said...

Thanks, minor issue! I'm out of my depth with NYC streets / neighborhoods. You're right - I was looking at where @RealHollywood was at during the day and messed up.

Bottom line - who am I going to believe? An actress who's taking practice swings in the batting circle of bearding? Or a civilian?

I think Austin being seen in NYC shot holes through Bennet's party pic. Gee, reminds me of that paintball picture that looked all kinds of photoshopped.

So then I have to ask myself why was she trying to make it look like that party picture was from Saturday evening when it wasn't? And if another obviously interestecd party was trying to argue that the dog party was on Saturday night and Austin was seen in NYC on Sunday afternoon (two entirely different days) so therefore it's entirely possible, then I have to wonder why it matters so strongly that this scenario be possible? Who in this neighborhood cares if Austin is in NYC or LA and would want to distract from the speculation?

It would be because of who else might be in NYC with him, that's why. That's why this matters.

the real m said...

PG, yes Bridegrooom was shown on Oprah's network with the interviews following the show. That she has come out so openly supportive of gay rights will only help the cause as she influences a lot of people. Bridegroom was sad, but also showed a truly happy couple for their time together. And one of the guys 90 year old grandmother said to the world its 2 guys that love each other so get over it. Really cute. One set of parents/ family accepted the union. The other side (dad mainly) did not.

The Price of the Closet said...

Twenty years ago, David W Ross was a pop star in boy band Bad Boys Inc, who were created as rivals to Take That and notched up six top 40 hits between 1993 and 1995. He left the band, moved to LA and became an actor.
David tells his story to Andrew Williams....

The Price of the Closet said...


I was 19 when I joined Bad Boys Inc. A guy who helped put the band together saw my picture in a modelling agency and he suggested I should audition. I danced a bit, sang a bit and signed the contract. It was about how we looked rather than our talent.

Both me and Matthew were gay; Ally and Tony were straight. It was an unspoken thing – we wouldn’t mention it – you couldn’t be out back then. In 1993, it was illegal to have a boyfriend if you were under 21 and HIV was affecting the gay community very badly. It was a very dark time.

I was told not to walk down Old Compton Street in Soho because there were ‘rumours’ about me and I was told not to flick my hair on TV because it looked gay. It wasn’t just our career that would have suffered if I’d come out – thousands of pounds were spent on us and many people’s jobs depended on us.

I was living with my boyfriend at the time, a photographer who was quite well known around London. I wasn’t paranoid about people finding out I was gay but I was f***ing miserable – that’s for sure. I lied a few times. I did a magazine interview where I was pointedly asked if I fancied men and I said no. That really upset some of my friends. What was I supposed to say? It’s not as if I was in Erasure – I was in a boy band. There was no space to get activist-y about it – it was a case of do you want a career or not?

I tried to manoeuvre around questions. Whenever I was asked who my ideal girlfriend would be, I said The Little Mermaid – how gay can you get? I had to make it up as I went along – we had no media training, no dance lessons, no singing lesions. Nothing was prepared, we were just thrown out there.

There was no malicious plan, such as: ‘Let’s put two gay guys in a boy band and make sure no one finds out.’ The people who put us together were very short-sighted and didn’t think things through.

Being in the closet makes you absolutely miserable, which is one of the reasons I left the band. It’s horrible. It’s different for younger people now but there are generations of people who had, and still have, to be in the closet professionally. You end up having to compartmentalise your life psychologically, which is very damaging.

You monitor everything you say all the time. You don’t use gender-specific words when you’re talking about your partner or who you’ve been seeing. You end up lying through your teeth. You take on this view that there’s something wrong with you that has to be hidden. It has a negative psychological impact on you. It’s a horrible way to live.

You are not being authentic, although how authentic can you be in a boy band? There was this level of awareness among us that we were full of s*** the whole time. We weren’t put together because our producer thought: ‘I’ve got all these great songs so I’ll put a band together to get them in the charts.’ No, his motivation was: ‘I’m going to destroy Take That.’ We were f***ed from the start and we knew it. The fact we charted was a miracle.

Boy bands are designed to extract money from little girls’ piggy banks, so I’m sure managers probably still aren’t keen on boy band members coming out as gay. Little girls probably don’t actually care, they might think: ‘I’ll be the one to turn him.’

It is probably easier now. My film is about marriage equality and people being together because they love each other. It seems the younger generation – I sound so old – doesn’t have a problem with it. If someone from One Direction was to come out it would be a big deal but most people wouldn’t give a s***.

As bad as things were in the pop world, they’re worse in Hollywood. I’m an actor now and live in Los Angeles. There are casting directors who won’t see actors who are out as gay. Most films and TV shows are aimed at an audience of 30-year-old men living in middle America who won’t accept their gun-toting megastars if they come out of the closet.

People are too scared to think that the macho guy who is blowing people’s heads off on screen might be sex with a man in the night time – but those attitudes are changing.

wow said...

What does he mean - "it was illegal to have a boyfriend if you were under 21"

Can anyone explain?

Amazing story. Not surprised the Hollywood closet is the worst.

prairiegirl said...

wow, without knowing if someone else knows, M&M is going to try and help you out. But she's got to do a bit of studying and will get back to you.

the real m said...

Amazing comment, that article about being closeted. It is so descriptive to Jakes situation even today. Measuring every word, using gender neutral language, hiding your true nature. So sad.

My new plaid pants has some pics of Austin today from his TV appearance last week. They all look phenomenal. The man is in great shape. Jake should be flaunting his relationship with Austin rather than hiding it.

Methodical Muser said...

What does he mean - "it was illegal to have a boyfriend if you were under 21"

Hey, wow. As he mentioned in the article, David W. Ross was dating someone in England in 1993 so he was referring to the age of consent laws in Britain at the time. The male homosexual age of consent in the United Kingdom was set at 21 in the Sexual Offences Act of 1967, but it was eventually lowered to 18 in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994. Essentially, he had to wait one year before he was "legal."

Methodical Muser said...

Boston wins again!!! One more game is all that's needed and they're heading home too. It's looking good right now.