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.”
Stanford Daily republished Booker's column on Wednesday.