The Newark mayor, who would like to replace Frank Lautenberg in the Senate, wrote about his thoughts on gays in a 1992 opinion piece for the Stanford Daily. On Twitter Thursday, Booker wrote, “I was writing about my teenage struggle for integrity.”
In the column, Booker wrote that he was “disgusted by gays” as a teenager, even as he put on a show of acceptance.
“The thought of two men kissing each other was about as appealing as a frontal lobotomy,” he said.
“Allow me to be more direct, escaping the euphemisms of my past – I hated gays,” he continued. “The disgust and latent hostility I felt toward gays were subcategories of hatred, plain and simple.”
Booker said he had a change of heart as a freshman after a gay counselor shared his story about enduring prejudice and violence because of his homosexuality.
“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,” Booker wrote. “Well, it didn’t take me long to realize that the root of my hatred did not lie with gays but with myself.”
Booker went on to say that the gay community’s “demands for justice are no less imperative than those of any other community.”
“Alas, occasionally I still find myself acting defensive if someone thinks I am gay or sometimes I remain silent when others slam and slander,” Booker concluded. “These realizations hurt me deeply. I must continue to struggle for personal justice. This is my most important endeavor.”