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.
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.
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.