Last night, Katy Perry delivered an impassioned acceptance speech for the National Equality Award at the Human Rights Campaign's annual Gala Dinner and Auction in Los Angeles. In it, she discussed her transition from believing homosexuality was a sin in her youth to her own social and sexual awakening through her introduction to the queer-friendly music industry.
"When I was growing up, homosexuality was synonymous with the word abomination and hell," she said. "Most of my adolescence I prayed the gay away at my Jesus camps." She also recalled the pro-conversion therapy stance of her Christian youth groups, and how it led her to suppress her budding curiosities about her own sexuality.
It wasn't until she traded gospel for pop music, she said, that she started to be more accepting. "My gift introduced me to people outside my bubble and my bubble started to burst. These people were nothing like the people I had been taught to fear. They were the most free, strong, kind, and inclusive people I have ever met," she said.
"I'm just a singer songwriter, honestly. I speak my truths and I paint my fantasies into these little bite-sized pop songs, for instance, 'I Kissed a Girl' and I liked it," she said, reflecting on her breakout 2008 hit. "Truth be told, I did more than that," she continued, and that's where her doubts about the conservative stances of her upbringing began. With that song, she said, "I started a conversation that a lot of the world seemed curious enough to sing along to."
Check out her full speech above, beginning just after the 23-minute mark. The video also includes America Ferrera's acceptance speech for the Ally for Equality award, as well as introductions by Lena Dunham and Shannon Woodward.