President Obama on Wednesday awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor, to a diverse roster of honorees.
Among them were two gay American icons: Bayard Rustin and Sally Ride. Both Rustin and Ride are deceased. Ride’s longtime partner, Dr. Tam O’Shaughnessy, accepted on her behalf; Rustin’s partner Walter Naegle accepted on his behalf.
Rustin was an openly gay black man who organized the March on Washington in 1963; Ride was the first American woman in space who came out publicly in her obituary.