A Tennessee student has accused his school of discrimination after he was told to go home and change out of a t-shirt bearing the word ‘gay’.

Cole Goforth, 15, went to Greenbrier High School wearing a shirt that read “I Heart Lady Gay Gay”, a play on the name of bisexual singer Lady Gaga.

The openly gay student says the school has tolerated him wearing similar shirts in the past.

He and his mother Julie Gordon say his freedom of speech has been violated.

“I just think my sexuality isn’t widely accepted around here, so of course they are going to single me out,” Cole told UPI.

Danny Weeks, assistant director of the school board, said: “We’ve had a few disruptions the last few days, and we thought the slogan on that shirt would continue to escalate those incidents that had occurred.”

The school has said that Ms Gordon is welcome to appeal against its dress code.

Lady Gaga used Twitter to commend the student, calling him “an inspiration”.

She wrote: “I love you Cole, you just be yourself. You’re perfect the way God made you.”