Michael Neri is a 26-year-old musical theater teacher at the Talking Props Theater School in Kidderminster, England. Neri just happens to be … wait for it ... gay. When a Christian mother with two kids enrolled in his production of Rent (a musical about AIDS) learned of his sexual orientation, she immediately pulled them out of the production and asked for a refund. But in Neri's class, there are no refunds for bigotry.
Here's the mother's text message to Neri:
“Hi Michael. Following our chat this week I have decided that [name redacted] and [name redacted] will not be attending class on Monday. You have a strong reputation for performing arts which encouraged me to sign my children up for classes. I have recently learned of your lifestyle and as a Christian I cannot allow my children to be influence by unconventional idea. It is our belief that a man should marry a woman. I look forward to receiving my deposit which you may post to me via cheque. Regards [name redacted]"
Neri couldn't believe the text when he first received it. “When I first saw the message I had to read it through twice," He told Metro. “I believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but it was still a hurtful thing to receive." So he collected his thoughts and took the high road.
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. As far as I'm aware, my sexuality doesn't effect my ability to teach, just like it wouldn't effect a doctor's ability to treat one of your children should they become unwell.
I'm sure your children's health would come first should they need emergency treatment, or would you need to check their doctors lifestyle prior to their life saving operation? 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). I hear StageCoach are enrolling but there teachers have been known to wear mixed fabrics which I'm sure you are aware is forbidden in the bible (Leviticus 19:19).
Please feel free to come see our Musical 'Happy Days,' confetti will be used in the finale but please rest assure this is not an attempt to corrupt your Christian lifestyle. We just love glitter.
Unfortunately deposits are non refundable but don't worry, your deposit has been donated to StoneWall, an LGBT charity. Regards Michael
Although Neri never heard back from the mother, her children are welcome to return to his drama school. “If the mother changes her mind then her children are more than welcome to attend classes here—I certainly don't blame them for the way their mother thinks."