Interested in art, dance and writing, Jorge was never a macho kid. Unlike his sister—the loud and boisterous athlete of the family—Jorge was a shy student, afraid to ruffle feathers for fear of being picked on by his classmates.

As an openly gay teen, Jorge was bullied constantly. When he was in 8th grade, a few boys from school followed him home and started yelling profanities at him. The next day, his single mother decided to move the family to a more liberal and accepting area of Georgia. Despite the move, his high school days didn’t get any easier, and he got used to eating lunch in the bathroom his freshman and sophomore year.

When his feisty little sister arrived on campus in his junior year of high school, Jorge found his protector. Lina gave Jorge the strength to come out of the shadows for his final two years of high school but he has always wondered what he would have done had Lina not been there. With a newfound confidence, Jorge has found his voice and is on a mission to promote tolerance and raise awareness about the need for more support and services for the LGBTQ community in schools.