Sally Ride … Respecting Trans People Around Death and Bereavement … Queers … Queer Britain


Sally Ride

Sally Kristen Ride (26 May 1951 – 23 July 2012) was an American astronaut and physicist. Born in Los Angeles, she joined NASA in 1978, and in 1983 became the first American woman in space.

Sally Ride (1984)

She was the third woman in space overall, after USSR cosmonauts Valentina Tereshkova (1963) and Svetlana Savitskaya (1982). Ride remains the youngest American astronaut to have travelled to space, having done so at the age of 32.

After flying twice on the Orbiter Challenger, she left NASA in 1987. Ride worked for two years at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Arms Control, then at the University of California, San Diego, primarily researching nonlinear optics and Thomson scattering. Previously, at Stanford University, she earned a master’s degree in 1975 and a PhD in physics in 1978 while doing research on the interaction of X-rays with the interstellar medium. Astrophysics and free electron lasers were her specific areas of study.

Having been married to astronaut Steven Hawley during her spaceflight years and in a private, long-term relationship with former Women’s Tennis Association player Tam O’Shaughnessy in her years after, she is the earliest space traveller to have been recognised as LGBT.

In addition to being interested in science, she was a nationally ranked tennis player, and took a break from college to pursue a professional tennis career.

Ride on Space Shuttle Challenger’s mid-deck in 1983

Prior to her first space flight, Ride was subject to media attention due to her gender. During a press conference, she was asked questions such as, “Will the flight affect your reproductive organs?” and “Do you weep when things go wrong on the job?” Despite this and the historical significance of the mission, Ride insisted that she saw herself in only one way – as an astronaut.

Ride was extremely private about her personal life. After Ride’s death, her obituary revealed that her partner of 27 years was Tam O’Shaughnessy, a professor emerita of school psychology at San Diego State University and childhood friend, who met her when both were aspiring tennis players.

This made Ride the first lesbian astronaut and the first lesbian in outer space.

Respecting Trans and Gender Diverse People Around Death and Bereavement – LGBT Foundation in conversation with Ash Hayhurst

Join LGBT Foundation for an evening with Ash Hayhurst, consultant for a new death and bereavement project led by UK-wide trans and gender diverse charity GIRES on 1 September 2021, 6.00pm – 7.30pm.

This free event will take place online and will be chaired by Zane Robinson (Trans Programme Coordinator and Community Programme Manager at LGBT Foundation) and will include an audience Q&A.

Ash Hayhurst is a funeral professional working in consultation with GIRES on a new project resourcing professionals to ensure respect and dignity for trans and gender diverse people in death and bereavement. Ash is the author of “Making informed choices when planning a funeral – a guide for Queer people”, has written articles for the Funeral Service Journal and the ICCM journal, and was a guest speaker at the Ceremony Matters Equality and Diversity conference in October 2020. Ash’s pronouns are he/him.

GIRES is a UK wide organisation whose purpose is to improve the lives of trans and gender diverse people of all ages, including those who are non-binary and non-gender, through training, support, information and research.

This event is part of the free Arts and Culture programme for The 15th International Conference on the Social Context of Death, Dying and disposal: Diversity and Decolonisation, hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University.

To book a free ticket for this event programme and for more information please head to the conference home page, scroll to the top of the page and select the option to ‘Register only for the arts and cultures programme’. Please note: you will receive an initial confirmation email stating ‘Thank you for registering for Death, Dying and Disposal 15’, followed by a link to access the event via a ‘Virtual Lobby’. Attendance at this event is included automatically for delegates to the main conference sessions.

If you have any queries around accessibility for this session please contact, and for any other queries relating the conference please contact


“Queers” is a series of eight short monologues charting the lives of gay men and women in the UK. It is available on BBC iPlayer here

This project runs eight different monologues from well known actors and was part of a longer project called “Gay Britannia” which marked the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act.

Each monologue runs for 15 to 20 minutes and the topics cover a span of 100 years. The first programme called “The Man on the Platform”, features a young man returning from the trenches of the First World War, who recollects a love that dared not speak its name.

Other characters address subjects such as the HIV crisis and the Sexual Offences Act.

Sarah Barnett, the president of BBC America said “Brilliantly written and performed, these monologues may be compact but they are brimful of humour, heartbreak, joy, humanity and tenderness.”

Queer Britain

Queer Britain is a charity working to establish the UK’s first national LGBTQ+ museum, a place as exciting as the people, stories and ideas it explores and celebrates. It will be an essential place for all regardless of sexuality or gender identity, to find out about the culture we have been born into, have chosen or seek to understand.

Queer Britain was launched in 2018. A host of supporters from community, business, celebrity and media came to cheer on the Queer Britain project at a reception at Hotel Cafe Royal’s iconic Oscar Wilde Lounge.

Queer people have impacted every part of culture, yet all too often our lives have been written in the margins of history books. Valuable stories and artefacts are being lost. Once gone, they may never be recovered. These deserve a dedicated space to be preserved, explored and celebrated. Queer Britain will put this centre stage.

You can catch up with online events such as the The Turing £50 with the Bank of England or The Gateways with Diva Magazine. To find out more click here.

Gateways Club

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