Michael Neri, a 26-year-old theatre producer and drama teacher in the U.K., responded to a mother’s wish to pull her children from his drama class because of his sexuality, in a text message that has now gone viral.
The mother, whose identity hasn’t been revealed, text Michael to tell him her children would not be attending his class.
“I have recently learned of your lifestyle and as a Christian I cannot allow my children to be influenced by unconventional ideas,” she wrote.
“I look forward to receiving my deposit which you may post to me via cheque.”
Michael told BuzzFeed that he was a little surprised to get the message. “I did have to read it twice.”
But after absorbing what had been written, Michael fired off a considered but cutting response.
“I would be 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 our family,” he wrote.
“Unfortunately deposits are non-refundable but don’t worry, your deposit has been donated to StoneWall, an LGBT charity.”
“I found the text hurtful,” Michael said. “However, life is too short to worry about what other people think.”
“I always preach to my students, ‘Be yourself, life would be boring if everyone was the same.’ I simply put my words into action for myself.”
After posting the text exchange on Twitter and Facebook, Michael has been overwhelmed by positive responses.
And while he has not heard back from the mother in question, Michael has said that her children would always be welcome in his class.
“It’s not their fault this has happened.”