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Cory Booker, Newark Mayor, Reveals Struggle With Homophobia In 1992 Stanford Daily Op-Ed

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CORY BOOKER
AP

A poignant 1992 Op-Ed penned by Cory Booker when the future Newark mayor was still a student at Stanford University is making the blogosphere rounds.

In The Stanford Daily article, titled "Pointing the finger at gays," Booker admits he once "hated" and was "disgusted by" the gay community, but eventually confronted his feelings after discussions with a friend as well as an openly gay counselor.

"While hate is a four-letter word I never would have admitted to, the sentiment clandestinely pervaded my every interaction with homosexuals," Booker wrote. "I sheepishly shook hands with gays or completely shied away from physical contact. I still remember how my brow would often unconsciously furrow when I was with gays as thoughts would flash in my mind, 'What sinners I am amongst' or 'How unnatural these people are.'"

He then recalls his "first real conversation" about homosexuality with counselor Daniel Bao, whom he describes as "a beautiful man whose eloquent and poignant truths began to move me past tolerance":

"It was chilling to find that so much of the testimony he shared with me was almost identical to stories my grandparents told me about growing up Black. People found it revolting to share a meal with them and often felt it to be their duty to beat them so that they would learn proper living.

Well, 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."

Booker eventually concludes that he "will never point a finger when the finger is best pointed at me," and that his quest "for personal justice" is his "most important endeavor."

The Op-Ed has been reprinted in full The Stanford Daily and excerpted on Buzzfeed and New York Magazine.

Booker is considering a New Jersey Senate run in 2014, according to reports.

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