lgbtq rights

Katy Perry on Going From Jesus Camps to Kissing Girls

Photo: Todd Williamson/Getty Images

Katy Perry spoke Saturday night at a Human Rights Campaign gala about going from Jesus camps and singing gospel to kissing girls and more. Perry, who received the National Equality Award, said, “I’m just a singer-songwriter honestly. I speak my truths and I paint my fantasies into these bite-sized pop songs. For instance, ‘I kissed a girl and I liked it.’ Truth be told, I did more than that.”

Perry added, “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. 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.”

Perry, the daughter of two pastors, confessed, “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,” she said, referring to her singing career. “My bubble started to burst. These people were nothing like I had been taught to fear,” she said, adding, that the people she met “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 pop star finished her speech by telling the audience that she was as good of an example as any of people ditching ideas about inequality. “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.”

Katy Perry on Going From Jesus Camps to Kissing Girls