Katy Perry has spoken candidly about her anti-gay Christian upbringing and her evolution into an LGBTI activist in a rousing speech.
The singer was presented with the Human Rights Campaign’s National Equality Award at the organisation’s gala dinner.
In her emotional speech at the event, Katy brought up her 2008 breakthrough hit “I Kissed A Girl”.
Referring to song’s chorus, the singer said: “Truth be told, I did more than that, but how was I going to reconcile that with the 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 was not black and white.
“And honestly, I haven’t always gotten it right but in 2008, when that song came out, I knew that I started a conversation and a lot of the world seemed curious enough to sing along too.”
Katy said for most of her adolescence she “prayed the gay away at my Jesus camps” but things began to change once she discovered she had a gifted singing voice.
“My gift introduced me to people outside my bubble and my bubble started to burst. These people were nothing like I had been taught to fear. They were the most free, strong, kind and inclusive people I had ever met,” she said.
“I have to stand up for what I feel is true and that is equality and justice for all, period.
“We have to create a safe space for us to ask questions of ourselves and others and to keep the conversation going.
“Because the loudest voice in the room or on your TV isn’t always right. But that little voice inside of you, pushing you to discover who you are, is a trusted friend.
“It’s time to lead with empathy and grace and compassion now more than ever to find the unity we need now.
“I’ll never cease to be a champion, an ally, a spotlight, and a loving voice for all LGBTQ-identifying people.”
Watch Katy’s speech in full below, and watch the full event on YouTube here.