Michael Neri is a 26-year-old theater producer in the U.K. He's currently super busy on a production of Rent, but he also runs the Talking Props Theatre School, which provides drama training to kids of all ages.
This week, Neri received a text from a student's mother stating that she was pulling her children from class because — "as a Christian" — she didn't approve of Neri's "lifestyle." The mother also asked for her deposit back.
"I was a little surprised to get the message; I did have to read it twice," Neri told BuzzFeed News. After re-reading, he fired off this perfect response:
“From experience I find that theatre without gays is like cooking without spices," he wrote.
He ended his response by referencing a Bible passage and informing the woman that her deposit had been donated to an LGBT charity.
According to Neri, the woman's children were due to start classes on Monday. He had spoken with her on the phone and in person just days prior.
"I decided to reply as I felt it necessary to protect my name and business," he added.
“I found [the text] hurtful; however, life is to short too worry about what other people think,” said Neri. “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.”
"When I was younger I would have loved for a place to go and be creative as well as have a safe haven to be with friends," Neri said of his work. "Everyone who comes to class is different and they all accept and value each other for who they are. We love our students and they are so talented!"
"The feedback has been overwhelming," Neri said. "I put it online for my students and parents to see; I had no idea it would go viral! The love and support from my students and their families has been so humbling."
While he has not heard back from the woman, Neri notes that her children are always welcome to join his class in the future.
"It's not their fault this has happened."