Newark Mayor Cory Booker says he once hated gays, until one befriended him.

Booker, who is known for being a strong gay rights ally, explained how he turned around his views in a 1992 Stanford op-ed titled Pointing the Finger at Gays.

“I hated gays,” Booker, a Rhodes Scholar, wrote. “The disgust and latent hostility I felt toward gays were subcategories of hatred, plain and simple.”

Booker said a friendship with a gay counselor, Daniel Bao, during his freshman year altered his views.

“I still remember our first real conversation about homosexuality. I had no intention of listening to him; I only sought to argue and debate. However, he quickly disarmed me with his personal testimony.”

“He told me of the years of denial and the pain of always feeling different.”

“He told me of the violence – violence from strangers and family, horrible images of beatings, destruction of property, and the daily verbal condemnations.”

“It was chilling.”

“It didn't take me long to realize that the root of my hatred did not lie with gays but with myself. It was my problem. A problem I dealt with by ceasing to tolerate gays and instead seeking to embrace them.”

“The gay people with whom I am close are some of the strongest, most passionate, and caring people I know and their demands for justice are no less imperative than those of any other community.”

The Stanford Daily republished Booker's column on Wednesday.