As we remember Ride’s well-lived life and celebrate her contributions to exploration and science, we can also regret her silence on this issue. Call it a personal choice or call it a flaw, I’m sad that Ride felt the need, whatever her reasons, to withhold this part of herself.You know what? Sure, it would have been nice for other people if she had come out before she died, but it is not her responsibility to further an agenda if she isn't comfortable with it. She was an amazing woman who did a lot for girls as far as science and math education goes, and she was an active ex-astronaut who continued to work with NASA on safety issues. I guess that's just not enough?
She also kept her pancreatic cancer to herself and there's less criticism there, although I have read some.
In any case, she was clearly a private person, and that was her choice. I think we should respect that and get over feeling bummed out that she didn't share her entire life with us. Her sexuality probably would have been a distraction in her clearly focused career efforts.
(This all reminds me of Anderson Cooper. "He should have come out years ago." "Everyone already knew." It's his story to tell, and if he wants to tell it, fine. If not, we have to respect that. That said, his letter was beautiful, and I hope he feels at peace with his decision to write it and make his personal life very public.)