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Cory Booker's 1992 Op-Ed Proves The Power Of Gay Friendship


Time and again polls show that the single biggest factor in someone changing their minds about marriage equality or general LGBT rights is meeting an LGBT person. It's that simple. They meet a gay person, see that we don't have horns, and move past their archaic attitudes. Newark Mayor and likely U.S. Senate candidate Cory Booker is one of those people.

On April 8, 1992, he wrote an opinion piece for his university newspaper, The Stanford Daily, about how meeting a gay person changed his mind on the matter. That paper republished the piece today. Here is an excerpt:

...While I was highly adroit at maintaining an air of acceptance [of gays], I couldn't betray my feelings. I was disgusted by gays. The thought of two men kissing each other was about as appealing as a frontal lobotomy.

Allow me to be more direct, escaping the euphemisms of my past – I hated gays. The disgust and latent hostility I felt toward gays were subcategories of hatred, plain and simple.

While hate is a four-letter word I never would have admitted to, the sentiment clandestinely pervaded my every interaction with homosexuals. 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."

It takes too much energy to hate. Daniel Bao showed me that. He was our gay counselor at The Bridge when I was a freshman. A beautiful man whose eloquent and poignant truths began to move me past tolerance.

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

Booker is now one of the most outspoken gay allies in public office.

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  1. Very odd. Cory is gay.

    Posted by: JCMS | Jan 10, 2013 3:36:44 PM

  2. Lil' C*unt, how many fake troll posts have you done on TR today? How many arguments have you had with yourself today? Just curious.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jan 10, 2013 4:15:33 PM

  3. Oh, no, JAMAL49. There aint no way in the world PAUL R can be anywhere close to being like that Nazi Queen of Death.

    Plus, Paul R is probably nice lookin'. Rick is Margaret Hamilton in male drag.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jan 10, 2013 4:24:24 PM

  4. @Caliban: I have not heard anyone inquiring as to his (or anyone else’s) current thinking that the 90s statements were ‘understandable’ or expected, or the common response being because “Everyone Hated Gays then”. To the contrary, most reasonable people (counting myself in that group) is questioning whether "someone’s" position (thinking/actions) have changed because the very fact it has been a decade -- not that those opinions were acceptable.

    In a short period of time people’s attitudes sometimes change for the better – even more so over a decade. In Maine 2009, ME repealed. In 2012, it passed.

    And yes, there were allies in the 80s/90s, but not enough to make a difference through the legislative process, which is why as you pointed out, those that did stand tall should be celebrated. But, IMO that should not diminish those that have changed or even give people the opportunity to grow and change.

    Posted by: Belthazar | Jan 10, 2013 4:28:42 PM

  5. It was kinda fun going back to university a few years ago, and being a lot of young people's First Gay.

    even better - the success had in getting them on board as Allies.

    I cannot express the joy that overwhelmed me when a dozen young, bright, heterosexual friends from college showed up on a bus at 4:30am, to march with us at the National Equality March in DC.

    you change the world when you stand up to be counted.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Jan 10, 2013 4:35:27 PM

  6. Love you, Derrick. I had a retort to Jamal but it didn't get posted. Probably for the best...

    Posted by: Paul R | Jan 10, 2013 6:19:34 PM

  7. I remember the first time I ever heard of this man of reason. And he has not changed as so many politicians have once they are elected to public office. Cory is one of those people who thinks before he makes up his mind. I have had many friends allies in my lifetime who were non-gay. I think how lucky I was to have known San Francisco's Mayor Geroge Moscone as a friend. He like Cory, were and are light years ahead when it comes to welcome and fight for gay rights in their times. Some like President Obama have evolved once in office... However, George and Cory realized to be politically correct is to have an open mind before and not after your elected.

    Posted by: Jerry Pritikin aka The Bleacher Preacher | Jan 11, 2013 7:58:34 AM

  8. You've gotta hand it to Jersey folks... they aren't afraid to say what they think. I love Cory Booker. I don't like Chris Christie's political views (especially on gay rights), but I admire his "style". Then there's Bruce, Bon Jovi, Susan Sarandon, Jon Stewart.... the list goes on.

    Posted by: John | Jan 11, 2013 12:23:27 PM

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