Gay high school student Joel Mireles has gone viral after standing up to haters following his Homecoming King win.
Mireles, a senior at Brazoswood High School in Clute, Texas, recently won Homecoming King.
Despite thinking it was “a long shot” because the winner is always someone “who’s in athletics”, the student campaigned anyway and after hanging up posters and handing out donuts, he won.
Speaking about the experience, Mireles said: “I was shocked. I didn’t really know what to do. Then one of the members of student council put the crown on me.”
However, many students took issue with having a gay Homecoming King and began posting negative and hateful messages on social media with the hashtag #NotMyKing.
Several students then created a t-shirt people could buy using the same hashtag along with an image of a crown with a ‘no’ symbol over it.
He explained: “I didn’t want to go eat lunch because I thought people were looking at me so I stayed in the theater classroom and told my mum to come pick me up early.”
It was then that Mireles came up with an idea to stop his haters: he bought one of the shirts himself.
Speaking to 13 Wmaz, Mireles said: “I just thought, if I bought one, it would be a statement saying, ‘This isn’t affecting me and you guys aren’t hurting me’.”
The image of Mireles in one of the shirts was posted online and quickly went viral. He’s even received positive comments from strangers and classmates.
Speaking about the reaction to the post, Mireles said: “The majority have been really supportive and that feels really good.”
Meanwhile, Danny Massey, the superintendent for the school, denied reports that a student had designed the t-shirt.