Rachel Bertsche | Yahoo News | November 23, 2015
A drama teacher’s response to a homophobic parent’s decision to withdraw her child from class has gone viral this week.
Michael Neri is a theater producer in Birmingham, England, and runs a drama school for kids called Talking Props. But recently, a parent decided to withdraw her child from Neri’s school because she found out the teacher is gay. “You have a strong reputation for performing arts which encouraged me to sign my children up for classes,” the mother wrote in a text message. “I have recently learned of your lifestyle and as a Christian I cannot allow my children to be influenced by unconventional ideas. It is our belief that a man should marry a woman.” A few hours after receiving that note last week, Neri wrote back a long response that he later shared on Twitter, where it has been retweeted more than 1,700 times and favorited more than 2,700 times.
In the response, Neri explained that he was fine with this mother’s decision. “I pride my students on the respect and love they have for others and their passion for equality,” he wrote. “You would only be infringing on our family.”
Neri went on to tell the mother that his sexual orientation was unrelated to his work as a drama teacher, though he said she’d be hard-pressed to find a theater school with no gay teachers. “As far as I’m aware, my sexuality doesn’t [affect] my ability to teach, just like it wouldn’t [affect] 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 doctor’s 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).”