At the end of the obituary that she co-wrote with her same-sex partner, they announced to the world that they had been in a relationship for 27 years..
As details emerged after Ride died of cancer Monday, it was clear a circle of family, friends and co-workers had long known of and accepted their relationship, according to an AP report
For many millions of others, who celebrated Ride for being the first American woman in space, it was a revelation that has sparked a spirited discussion about privacy versus public candor in regarding the sexual orientation of accomplished celebrities.
Some commentators have second-guessed Ride's decision to opt for privacy, saying she could have been a role model for gay youth while alive. Others say Ride's work has nothing to do with her sexual orientation and should not be diminished by her decision to be discreet in her private life.