Katie Perry's smash hit 'I kissed a girl and I liked it' came after a gospel-singing upbringing where 'homosexuality was synonymous with the word abomination', she revealed as she opened up about her sexuality and religion.
The 32-year-old pop star made an emotional speech revealing she was taught to 'pray the gay away at Jesus camps' in her youth.
Perry was speaking after she accepted the National Equality Award at the Human Rights Campaign Gala in Los Angeles for her work on equal gay rights. She said even during her strictly Christian childhood she knew sexuality was not as black and white as she was taught.
'I'm just a singer-songwriter, honestly. 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. Truth be told, I did more than that,' she told the crowd.
'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 is that I was curious and even then I knew sexuality wasn't as black and white as this dress.'
Although admitting she has not 'always gotten it right', she knew her 2008 major single 'started a conversation and a lot of the world seemed curious enough to sing along to'.
She said her singing gift introduced her to people outside her strict Christian bubble.
'My first words were 'mama' and 'dada', 'God' and 'Satan'," said Perry on Saturday night. "... When I was growing up homosexuality was synonymous with the word 'abomination' and 'Hell', a place of gnashing of teeth, continuous burning of skin and probably Mike Pence's ultimate guest list for a BBQ. ... So 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.
'These people were nothing like I had been taught to fear,' she said. '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.'
She went on: '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.'
After the ceremony she tweeted
I will never cease to be a champion, an ally, a spotlight and a loving voice for all LGBTQ-identifying people. ❤