Michael Neri / www.facebook.com?fbid=10156915073534271&set=ecnf.507719270&type=3&theater
Meaghan Kirby
August 09, 2018 10:04 am

A 2015 text exchange between a homophobic mother and her children’s gay theater teacher has recently resurfaced and is currently going viral—because homophobia is unfortunately still extremely relevant. Talking Props Theatre School owner Michael Neri received a text message from a mother telling him that she’d be removing her kids from his class because she found out he was gay. While she may have been intentionally trying to upset him, his response was a masterclass in shutting down hate.

In a screenshot of the text exchange obtained by the U.K.’s Metro, the mother told Neri that despite his “strong reputation,” which prompted her to enroll her children in his class in the first place, his sexuality didn’t fit in with her family’s “Christian” lifestyle. Doubling down on her hateful views, she added that she “cannot allow my children to be influenced by unconventional ideas.”

However, Neri’s response was epic.

“I would by lying if I said I was disappointed to hear this. I pride my students on the respect and love they have for others and their passion for equality. You would only be infringing on my family.” Neri’s response began.

"As far as I'm aware, my sexuality doesn't effect [sic] my ability to teach, just like it wouldn't effect [sic] a doctors ability to treat one of your children should they need emergency medical treatment, or would you need to check their doctors lifestyle prior to their life saving operation?" Neri continued. "I wish you luck in finding an appropriate stage school that meets your needs, however from experience I find that theatre without gays is like cooking without spices (just my opinion)."

Michael Neri / Facebook

After suggesting another theater school (while saucily “cautioning” the woman that some of its teachers may wear mixed fabrics, which is a no-no in the bible), he then encouraged her to purchase tickets to the Talking Props performance of Happy Days. “Confetti will be used in the finale but please rest assure that this is not an attempt to corrupt your Christian lifestyle. We just love glitter,” he wrote.

Happy Pride. Be fabulous in any way you see fit!

Posted by Michael Neri on Saturday, July 7, 2018

He concluded his note by reminding her that deposits are non-refundable—and that hers is being donated to a pro-LGBTQ org. Neri told Metro that while the mother didn’t reach out to him following their initial exchange, he doesn’t hold her homophobia against her children, adding that he’d welcome them back into class if they decided to return.

This was the empowering story we needed today.

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