From a Facebook page to a full multi-purpose community space, Have a Gay Day is now offering free food, free resources, and a safe space to Dayton, Ohio’s LGBTQ+ community.
Executive Director of Have a Gay Day, Michael Knote, says the non-profit was started as a Facebook page to raise money and support for the family of Jamey Rodemeyer, a New York teen who took his own life as a result of relentless homophobic bullying.
After his death, Knote says he wanted to create a safe space in his own community for others like Rodemeyer.
This week, Have a Gay Day officially opened its food pantry which will hand out food, pet food and other resources like pots and pans or space heaters to those in need.
“Everyone should have access to what they need; not just for survival, but for making the best in their day to day lives,” said Knote.
“The nonprofit has many local sponsors, and also work with the USDA and the Dayton Foodbank to provide bags of food for families,” reports WDTN. “Knote says he understands the struggle. He was once homeless, but now has bought himself a home in Northridge. Now he is trying to fill a need in his community.”
“There [are] a lot of resources that should be here that are not…everyone deserves something that isn’t a food desert,” he said.
Have a Gay Day’s brand-new multi-purpose space features a library, several meeting spaces, projector screens, speakers and more.
Just this week, the location hosted their first same-sex wedding.
Knote says the space intends to host movie nights, seminars and more once they are able to safely have people gather together again.
“I am overly excited that we are here and that we are going to have programs and resources that are going to serve the whole community not just small parts of the community,” said Naomi Tellis, resource development lead and board member for Have a Gay Day.
“Tellis says that the organization is also emphasizing intersectionality with the Black community,” reports WDTN. “As an African-American woman, she says she is often approached by Black LGBTQ youth who feel uncertain of their place in the world. She is hoping that they will find ways to connect through Have a Gay Day.”
“People realize that we’re just people and when they realize that we’re just trying to do good and when they realize that there is no agenda, the agenda is just being treated equally the agenda is actually just making a difference,” said Knote.
Knote says they have a goal of expanding their 2100 square foot multi-purpose space to one day include emergency housing for those in need.