I remember growing up in the caring Orthodox Jewish community of northwest London. I can't remember a time when I didn't want to be a cantor, the lead voice and clergy member of a synagogue. I used to strategize the precise time and route I would take on my weekly walks to shul so that I'd "accidentally" bump into my idol, the cantor of my synagogue. I became friends with his sons so I could spend time in the cantor's home, singing, learning, and experiencing Judaism right from the source.
However, when I heard the cantor laugh at a gay character on TV, I was devastated. By the time of my bar mitzvah, I realized that all was not well in my world. The all-boys Jewish high school I attended made its stance on homosexuality clear — it was wrong. Words like "abhorrent," "disgusting," and "repugnant" were used to describe homosexuality by the same rabbis I had looked up to.