Ohio’s Buckeye Flame burns bright, and invites you to steal its stories

by Joe Siegel

The Buckeye Flame has the distinction of being Ohio’s only statewide LGBTQ publication.

The online only publication was founded as a 501c3 nonprofit newsroom in March 2020 at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, with the website launch in June of 2020.

Ken Schneck, editor of The Buckeye Flame

“I created The Buckeye Flame with some wonderful colleagues when a previous publication folded during the pandemic, leaving Ohio without a statewide LGBTQ+ publication,” said Ken Schneck, its editor. “That void is unacceptable in a state that has no legal protections for LGBTQ+ Ohioans, so we quickly sought to change that. And now here we are in year four, going extremely strong.”

Schneck is a tenured professor of education at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio, just outside Cleveland. Prior to the Flame, he was the editor of Prizm magazine and the host of This Show is So Gay, a nationally syndicated radio show. Schneck still freelances for other publications and appears on stage as a stand-up comic.

“From day one of our launch, we prominently featured a ‘Steal our Stories‘ link on our homepage,” Schneck noted. “We encourage other outlets to use our content, properly attributed, free of charge. We believe deeply in the depth, sensitivity and grace of our content and would rather other media outlets run our stories than problematic ones that deadname trans people, ‘both-sides’ issues that don’t have two sides, use medically inaccurate info or misrepresent the size of a group of 11 protesters versus thousands of Pride goers.”

The Buckeye Flame has no major competition as an LGBTQ publication in the state, which has been trending Republican in statewide elections.

“The only other publication we know about is Fusion, a Kent State University student LGBTQ+ magazine,” Schneck said. “Fusion is a wonderful and inspiring initiative that has been around for decades. We love shouting them out at any opportunity.”

Schneck notes The Buckeye Flame has “an unwavering commitment to covering the Columbus Statehouse, where the Republican supermajority is hyper-focused on legislating the lived experience of LGBTQ+ Ohioans out of existence. This includes coverage of their ban on gender-affirming care, their goal of segregating bathrooms, their mandate that teachers out LGBTQ+ students, and how hate groups are influencing this anti-LGBTQ+ agenda. “

The Buckeye Flame has gained notoriety courtesy of other publications.  “We regularly see our stories in media across the state, and increasingly across the country, on platforms that have astronomically more readers than our own site,” Schneck said. “So, although we have no real metrics other than the tens of thousands who visit TheBuckeyeFlame.com each month, we accept that in pursuit of the greater good. A key to our publication is to provide a balance for our readers.”

“As an LGBTQ+ newsroom, we continue to fight to get the same access to spaces that our colleagues in other newsrooms enjoy without struggle,” Schneck added. “Just yesterday, a correspondent association sent us a list of concerns they had in approving our membership, including why we don’t feature anti-LGBTQ+ perspectives like those who believe gender-affirming care is child abuse. We habitually encounter micro-aggressions from other professionals that can be really demoralizing and denigrating to our journalism. We just try as hard as we can to keep moving forward and let this gate-keeping and lack-of-respect in certain quarters motivate us to keep doing what we do.”

Volume 25
Issue 11

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