Katy Perry talked about going from her very religious upbringing to “I Kissed a Girl” and called for LGBTQ equality in an emotional speech at Saturday’s Human Rights Campaign gala, where the singer was honored with the organization’s National Equality Award. Perry’s speech begins at the 34-minute mark of the above video.
“It’s time to lead with empathy and grace and compassion now more than ever to find the unity we need now,” Perry said. “I’ll never cease to be a champion, an ally, a spotlight, and a loving voice for all LGBTQ-identifying people.”
In her speech, Perry discussed transforming from “the gospel singing girl raised in youth groups that (was) pro-conversion camps” where her first words were “mama and dada, God and Satan” to singing her first hit, “I Kissed a Girl.” “Truth be told, I did more than that,” the singer said of the song’s chorus.
“Most of my unconscious adolescence, I prayed the gay away at my Jesus camps. But then in the middle of it all, in a twist of events, I found my gift and my gift introduced me to people outside of my bubble. My bubble started to burst,” Perry added.
Being in the music industry, the singer was introduced to LGBTQ collaborators who “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 freaking danced all the while doing it. These people are actually magic, and they are magic because they are living their truth.”
The HRC gala in Los Angeles also featured actress America Ferrera accepting the Ally for Equality Award, which was presented to her by Lena Dunham.