Katy Perry discussed balancing sexuality with religion during her speech for LGBTQ equality at the Human Rights Campaign Gala.
The singer, who was picking up the campaign’s National Equality Award, appeared alongside America Ferrera and Lena Dunham at the event.
Speaking about her personal experiences of feeling afraid to explore her sexuality growing up in an evangelical Christian household, Perry told the audience: “My first words were Momma and Poppa, God and Satan. Right and wrong were taught to me on feltboards… When I was growing up homosexuality was synonymous with the word abomination.”
She went on to reference her breakthrough 2008 hit ‘I Kissed A Girl’, saying: “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, I did more than that”.
Perry continued to admit that she “pray[ed] the gay away in my Jesus camps” during her struggles with her sexuality.
“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 was I was curious and even then I knew sexuality wasn’t as black and white as this dress.”
Perry said that it was her entry into the music industry that burst her “bubble” and taught her she needn’t be afraid of the LGBTQ community. “These people were nothing like I’d been taught to fear. They were the most free, strong, kind and inclusive people.”
Watch Perry’s speech in full below: