David Link dissects it. Money quote:
There are different kinds of privacy. Resisting the commercial temptations of fame is not the same thing as keeping the fact that you have cancer a family matter. And neither of those is the same as staying in the closet. Ride was born into the two revolutions that directly affected her life: women’s equality and gay equality. She took up one of those revolutions, and rejected the other …
The injustice of gay inequality, and particularly the injustice of the closet did not bother Ride. Or, maybe more accurately, it did not bother her enough to do anything with the public side of her life to try and change it. She simply accepted the closet, and took advantage of the work that others were doing on that front in order to live in a not-very-public-but-not-entirely-private lesbian relationship.
She shares this approach to the gay rights revolution with Mary Cheney. They are among the free-riders of this struggle, letting others do the fighting.
But Mary Cheney was publicly out at least – which is more than be said for Ride.