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Sally Ride sparks posthumous debate on coming out

Pioneering astronaut Sally Ride, who relished privacy, chose an appropriately discreet manner of coming out.

At the end of an obituary that she co-wrote with her same-sex partner, they disclosed to the world their relationship of 27 years.

As details trickled out after Ride's death Monday, it became clear that a circle of family, friends and co-workers had long known of the relationship and embraced it. For many millions of others, who admired Ride as the first American woman in space, it was a revelation — and it has sparked a spirited discussion about privacy vs. public candor in regard to sexual orientation.

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 were supportive.

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