With supremely-popular Newark "Rock Star" Mayor Cory Booker gearing up for a Senate run, he's faced a bit of a backlash in recent weeks—which is to be expected from a public figure who has been so universally adored thus far. It's like that old saying goes: no matter how many old ladies you save from burning buildings, you can't solve every Hot Pockets crisis through Twitter, or something. And likewise, everyone is looking to dig up dirt on the prince of Brick City—to that end, Buzzfeed found a 1992 column from The Stanford Daily in which Booker reflected on his own homophobia, and how he got over it.

The whole piece is worth reading, as Booker recounts how he struggled with his irrational prejudices with unflinching honesty and admirable clarity. He writes of his younger self:

Yet, while I was highly adroit at maintaining an air of acceptance, 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.

Then as a freshman, Booker met Daniel Bao, a gay counselor at Stanford’s peer counseling group The Bridge. Bao “quickly disarmed me with his personal testimony,” Booker wrote, about "violence from strangers and family, horrible images of beatings, destruction of property and the daily verbal condemnations."

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.

He concluded:

Alas, occasionally I still find myself acting defensive if someone thinks I am gay or sometimes I remain silent when others slam and slander. These realizations hurt me deeply. I must continue to struggle for personal justice. This is my most important endeavor.

Responding to questions and compliments about the article on Twitter, he wrote: "I was writing about my teenage struggle for integrity. Thanks." Booker has come a long long way from there, as Towel Road pointed out, and is now one of the most outspoken gay advocates in public office.