The singer, who shot to fame with the 2008 anthem I Kissed a Girl, spoke about her sexuality and the Human Rights Campaign Gala in LA last night, where she received the National Equality Award for her work as an LGBTQ ally.
During her speech, she gave a powerful account of her past struggles with her sexuality.
Perry told the audience that as a young person she would “pray the gay away” at Christian conversion camps.
My first words were Momma and Poppa, God and Satan. Right and wrong were taught to me on felt boards … When I was growing up, homosexuality was synonymous with the word abomination.”
She told the audience:
I’m just a singer-songwriter, honestly. I speak my truths and I paint my fantasies into these little, bite-size pop songs. For instance, ‘I kissed a girl and I liked it.’ Truth be told, A) I did more than that, but B) How was I going to reconcile that with a gospel-singing girl raised in youth groups that were pro-conversion camps?
What I did know is that I was curious, and even then I knew sexuality wasn’t as black and white as this dress. And, honestly, I haven’t always gotten it right, but in 2008, when that song came out, I knew that I started a conversation that a lot of the world seemed curious enough to sing along, too.”
Perry has promised that she’ll be bringing fans even more politically-infused “purposeful pop” in the near future.