Have A Gay Day also works with local, national and international law enforcement to reach out to people before it’s too late.
While Have A Gay Day volunteers have helped dozens of people, Knote often thinks about the one case where help didn’t arrive in time. It happened in Queensland, Australia.
“There wasn’t enough information on the person’s profile to properly locate them. Most people don’t know that we will track them, but we take suicide very seriously.”
Knote stresses that Have A Gay Day is a labor of love and community, and he doesn’t promote his site to make money for himself. There have been offers, though. He once turned down $20,000 to purchase the Have A Gay Day name and page.
“We sort of laugh about it now.”
While there are T-shirts, bumper stickers and bracelets, the goods are either given away (stickers and bracelets) or the profits are donated to charities (T-shirt sales benefit the Los Angeles homeless). Donations are accepted, but Knote is reluctant to ask fans for money. They’re often kids with no disposable income.
“It’s all about giving back, taking every dollar and stretching it,” he said.
Article continues belowGrowing up in a Christian community in Georgia, Knote never imagined this is where his life would lead. But he’s embracing his role in the community and has ideas for other projects, such as a mobile community center and a safe-space network.
He recently launched a phone line called Prism. It’s not a suicide hotline or crisis line, but a resource for those who just want someone to talk to.
“The Trevor Project normally focuses on the crisis rather than people who just want to talk,” he said. “Normally, they will limit their times for people who want to come out, or who are seeking resources. Sure, there’s Google, but sometimes, people just want to talk to someone. I think we’ll definitely change the shape of things.”
“If you treat people like they matter because they DO matter,” he said, “people will eventually notice.”