Thursday, October 23, 2014

Radio Show Host Ken Schneck Says Cleveland is So Gay

It's been seven years since Ken Schneck's radio show, This Show Is So Gay aired its first episode in Brattleboro, Vermont. Two hundred and eighty episodes later, the associate professor and director of the Leadership in Higher Education Program at Baldwin Wallace University is hosting the show in Cleveland. "The central theme of the show is, 'How can you use your voice in your own unique way to make a difference?' " says Schneck, whose show is broadcasted online and on iTunes. "I wanted to reclaim the idea of something being 'so gay' and actually have it be so gay."

His next guest coming up, 19-year-old Caleb Laieski, is a former commentator on the show. At 15 years old, he was trying to build transitional housing for homeless LGBT youth, but now he's returning for the 281st episode after he filed the first ever federal lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration to fight the ban on gay men donating blood. "I can't think of a guest on the show who hasn't had the most incredible experience," Schneck says, having hosted everyone from emerging indie-pop stars A Great Big World to openly gay comedian Suzanne Westenhoefer.

We asked Schneck to give us three things that make Cleveland so gay, and he delivered.

1. The LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland is stealing the spotlight after receiving a $1.8 million donation and a $500,000 matching grant from the Milton and Tamar Maltz Family Foundation to relocate and expand its facility. "Everyone should be keeping their eye on what's going on there, because they're going to continue to take an even greater role in building community here in Cleveland," says Schneck. "They already do incredible work, but I think they're on the cusp of just upping the ante even more."

2. Cleveland welcomed LGBT visitors and allies from all over the world in August to participate in the Gay Games 9 by flying rainbow flags all over the city — and some of them are still flying. "[These] visual artifacts make such a difference for visitors and for people who live here, and it sends a really strong message in a state that is in the minority right now," he says, noting that Ohio does not have marriage equality and employment protection.

3. Sometimes it's all about the good vibrations — and Cleveland is still roaring with pride months after the Gay Games left. Just next month, on Nov. 2, the LGBT center is hosting an event to keep that momentum going. "There seems to always be some sort of rally or book reading or drag show where you can go and meet new people," he says. "It's one of those things that you can easily take for granted, but given the larger umbrella of the lack of equality in Ohio, Cleveland is definitely so gay."

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