Astronaut Sally Ride will soon become the first openly LGBTQ+ individual featured on U.S. currency.
Ride will be one of five women featured in the U.S. Mint’s Women’s Quarters Program. Starting in 2022, the Mint will issue five new coins each year featuring notable American women. The program will run through 2025.
“These inspiring coin designs tell the stories of five extraordinary women whose contributions are indelibly etched in American culture,” said acting director of the U.S. Mint, Alison L. Doone.
Ride, best known for being the first American woman in space, flew into orbit twice during the space shuttle program, once in 1983 and again in 1984. Although she was married to fellow astronaut Steven Hawley during much of her time with the shuttle program, she was also involved in a long-term relationship with Tam O’Shaughnessy, a former women’s tennis player. Following her divorce in 1987, Ride remained with O’Shaughnessy until her death from pancreatic cancer in 2012.
The Ride quarter will feature the visage of the astronaut next to a shuttle window with the earth depicted below. “When I wasn’t working, I was usually at a window looking down at earth,” Ride once said of her time on the shuttle.
The other four women to be featured on next year’s coins are poet Maya Angelou, Cherokee Nation chief Wilma Mankiller, Hollywood film star Anna May Wong, and Adelina “Nina” Otero-Warren, a leader in New Mexico’s suffrage movement.
Otero-Warren had been involved in a long-term relationship with another woman, although she did not openly identify as queer during her lifetime.
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