If the New York Times is the "paper of record" then it's right now missing a crucial part of that record. It became known that American hero Sally Ride, who passed away this week, had been in a relationship with a woman for more than a quarter-century. Her sister has said plainly in interviews that her family wants part of Dr. Ride's enduring legacy to be as a hero to the LGBT community - a member of the community that they "didn't know they had."
Journalism is about telling the whole story. This week BuzzFeed's Chris Geidner did it. The New York Times did not. The New York Times owes it to its readers, and to its own journalistic integrity, to tell the full story. Although Dr. Ride's relationship with a woman wasn't publicly known to those outside her community during her lifetime, her family now wants both the LGBT community and those living with pancreatic cancer to know about the hero they share.
Sally Ride's legacy is that of an immeasurably strong woman, who not only went far in the male-dominated fields of science and aerospace, she literally went farther than almost any other human in the history of our planet. We've known that for decades. Now, we've all just discovered another piece of that legacy. There is a part of Dr. Ride's story that has not yet fully been told, and her family has clearly indicated should be told. The history books need to make clear that Sally Ride was the first known member of the LGBT community in space.
That sounds like news that's "fit to print" to us. One of the paper's blog authors did bring it up in a blog post, but the New York Times can't leave the only printed mention of Sally Ride's relationship as a line in the forty-second of forty-three paragraphs of her obituary, and it can't go without bringing specific attention to the fact that her relationship was with another woman. The Times has already ignored this part of the Dr. Ride's legacy for three days. It's well past time for the paper to talk to the family about this part of Sally Ride's story, and show Americans another side of this national hero.
LGBT people have been invisible in so many aspects of our culture: textbooks, newspapers and many TV shows and films. Our community deserves to be recognized for our contributions to the world today. It's time to tell the full history.