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Katy Perry Talks Religious Upbringing While Accepting Equality Award: ‘No Longer Can I Sit in Silence’

Human Rights Campaign's 2017 Los Angeles Gala Dinner - Show
JB Lacroix, Getty Images

Katy Perry was honored with the National Equality Award for her LGBTQ advocacy work at the Human Rights Campaign Gala Dinner in Los Angeles on Saturday, March 18.

While accepting her award, the pop star talked about her conservative Christian upbringing, her experience behind “I Kissed a Girl” and how her outlook on sexuality changed once she entered the music industry and had her “bubble burst.”

Starting with an anecdote about her 2008 breakout single, “I Kissed a Girl,” the singer admitted that “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 as black and white as this dress,” she told the crowd, adding, “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.”

Perry explained how her strict religious upbringing warped her views on homosexuality, something which, at the time, she viewed as a sin as she was forced to “pray the gay away at Jesus camps.”

“I found my gift, and my gift introduced me to people outside my bubble, and my bubble started to burst,” she said. “These people were nothing like I had been taught to fear. They were the most free, strong, kind and inclusive people I have ever met. They stimulated my mind, and they filled my heart with joy, and they danced with joy while doing it. These people are actually, magic, and they are magic because they are living their truth.”

“The path of discovery has made me, has tested me and forever changed me,” Perry continued, emotionally. “You don’t get to choose your family, but you can choose your tribe. I stand here as real evidence for all that no matter where you came from it is about where you are going, that real change, real evolution, and that real perception shift can happen, if we open our minds and soften our hearts.”

Wrapping up her speech, the pop artist concluded, “No longer can I sit in silence. I have to stand up for what I feel is true and that is equality and justice for all, period.”

Watch her entire speech, below:

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