Katy Perry was taught to ‘pray the gay away.’

At the 2017 Human Rights Campaign Gala, Katy Perry, the 32-year-old pop sensation, spoke about being born in a Christian family. While accepting the National Equality Award, she told the Los Angeles audience she was taught from an early age that being gay could be prayed away. Describing herself as “just a singer-songwriter,” she referenced her hit single “I Kissed a Girl,” while explaining the exploration of her sexuality, saying “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.”

Perry said it was hard to reconcile her not-so-black-and-white sexuality and be a gospel singer at the same time. Her parents raised her in youth groups she described as “pro-conversion camps.” She admitted of her curiosity and also knew at that time sexuality was not binary. She was pleased when her song began a conversation when it came out in 2008. It also happened the world happily sang along with her.

The president of the Human Rights Campagin, Chad Griffin, said Perry had utilized her “powerful voice and international platform to speak out for LGBTQ equality.” He mentioned her compelling advocacy, especially during the presidential campaign. Perry campaigned for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 US presidential elections.

Her breakout single was immediately controversial after it was released. The 2008 song was harshly criticized as being extremely demeaning towards gay people. This was all the more prominent as the title of her first single, “Ur So Gay.”

Perry's perspective on matters of sexuality shifted when she started to sing mainstream music and not restrict her talent solely to gospel singing. She found, she was gifted with and the gift it enabled her to live outside the bubble she was then living in. Perry found that people in the mainstream were nothing as she had been told by her church. They were not to be afraid of. She found people outside the church to be free, inclusive and kind. They were worlds away from the religious milieu she had grown up with. She was also effusive of the support she received from the LGBTQ community.

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