In 1984, Ron Geiman founded the magazine Wisconsin In-Step, the longest-running of many different gay and lesbian publications in Wisconsin. Geiman served as Publisher and Editor of In-Step through 1995, when health problems associated with AIDS compelled him to retire.
Geiman says the most satisfying part of his tenure at In-Step was "seeing the community grow, and hoping that maybe a part of that was because we were there as a vehicle to get the word out to people."
Geiman leraned journalism while serving in Vietnam as a Public Information Specialist for the US Army in Saigon in 1971-72. He helped with daily media breifings, wrote articles about soldiers for their local papers back home and did paste-up work for the military newspeper, The MAC-V Observer.
Once free from the service, Geiman decided to stay in Milwaukee and proceeded to "come out with a vengeance". In the late 1970's, he worked at The Factory and took journalism classes at UWM.
"All these papers kept coming and going, and I just saw that none of them were doing a very good job." In addition, many local businesses "did not like the idea of their money leaving Milwaukee and going to Chicago." So Geiman, along with David Iraci, launched the local Wisconsin In-Step, in February 1984. It struggled to stay afloat, but Geiman knew it would take a sustained commitment to build a strong base of advertisers and content diverse enough to attract readers.
He was right. From its first press run of 5,000 copies, In-Step's distribution grew to 11,000 ten years later. In-Step covered the growing AIDS epidemic, national marches for LGBT rights, state legislation, pride festivals, anti-gay campaigns and hate crimes, and community controversies like "outing".
On In-Step's 10th anniversary, Geiman observed: "The community has grown up and matured- we've come out more. The magazine has grown along with the community. It's become a more well-rounded recording of our gay and lesbian lives in Wisconsin."
"I couldn't ask for a better job," Geiman said, "being my own boss and at the same time doing something valuable fo my community."