Trailblazing astronaut Sally Ride will be first out LGBT+ person on a US coin

Astronaut Sally Ride will become the first out LGBT+ person to appear on US currency, as part of the new American Women Quarters Program.

According to United States Mint, the first five limited edition coins in the American Women Quarters Program will launch next year.

The coins honour Ride as well as Maya Angelou, Asian American actor Anna May Wong, Cherokee Nation leader Wilma Mankiller, and suffragette Nina Otero-Warren.

Ride, an engineer and a physicist as well as an astronaut, was the first American woman to travel to space.

She married fellow NASA astronaut Steve Hawley in 1982, but they divorced five years later, and she later entered into a 27-year relationship with science writer and professor emerita of school psychology at San Diego State University, Tam O’Shaughnessy.

Sally Ride on her American Women Quarters Program coin

Sally Ride on her American Women Quarters Program coin. (US Mint)

Although Ride was open about her sexuality with those around her, it was not widely known about until after her death in 2012. She stayed with O’Shaughnessy until she passed away.

The year after her death, Ride was awarded a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama.

Otero-Warren, who was born in 1881 and will also be the first Hispanic American to appear on US currency, was also LGBT+ but was not out in her lifetime.

The politician from New Mexico was initially married to a man, but struck up a relationship with a woman named Mamie Meadors in the 1920s.

They lived on the same homestead, but in different houses, and were known as “Los Dos”, or “The Pair”.

Nina Otero-Warren on her American Women Quarters Program coin. (US Mint)

Nina Otero-Warren on her American Women Quarters Program coin. (US Mint)

United States Mint acting director Alison L Doone said in a statement: “These inspiring coin designs tell the stories of five extraordinary women whose contributions are indelibly etched in American culture.

“Generations to come will look at coins bearing these designs and be reminded of what can be accomplished with vision, determination and a desire to improve opportunities for all.”