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Katy Perry on sexuality: I used to ‘pray the gay away’ in youth camps

Singer Katy Perry arrives at The Human Rights

Singer Katy Perry arrives at The Human Rights Campaign gala dinner in Los Angeles on March 18, 2017. Perry spoke about her own sexuality while expressing support for the LGBT community. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Christopher Polk

Singer Katy Perry, accepting an award at the Human Rights Campaign Los Angeles’ 2017 Annual Gala on Saturday, said that even when growing up in a religious household she knew that the definition of her sexuality was more nuanced than simply being labeled “straight.”

“I’m just a singer-songwriter, honestly,” Perry 32, addressed the crowd, in a live-streamed video. “I speak my truths and I paint my fantasies into these little bite-size pop songs. For instance, ‘I kissed a girl and I liked it,’ ” she said, quoting the hook from her 2008 song “I Kissed a Girl.”

“Truth be told,” she continued, “A) I did more than that and . . . B) how was I gonna reconcile that with the gospel-singing girl raised in youth groups that were pro-conversion camps? What I did know is that I was curious and even then I knew sexuality wasn’t as black and white as this dress,” she said, referring to her gown. She added that “when that song came out I knew that I started a conversation that a lot of the world seemed curious enough [about] to sing along, too.”

She recalled that during “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 my bubble, and my bubble started to burst.”

The LGBT community she said, was “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 freaking danced all the while doing it. . . . Many of the people I admire and trust and work with belong to the LGBT community. And without them I’d be half of the person I am today.”

She went on to say, “No longer can I sit in silence. I have to stand for what I know is true and that is equality and justice for all, period.”

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