Singer Katy Perry had the honor of accepting the National Equality Award at the Human Rights Gala Saturday in Los Angeles, and she used the opportunity to open up about her difficult childhood.
“My first words were ‘mama’ and ‘dada,’ ‘God’ and ‘Satan,” she admitted. “When I was growing up, homosexuality was synonymous with the word ‘abomination’… and hell. A place of gnashing of teeth, continual burning of skin and probably Mike Pence’s ultimate guest list for a barbecue.”
Despite her strict anti-homosexual education, she must have had same-sex urges or curiosities, because at one point she even turned to prayer, and “prayed the gay away” for much of her adolescence.
Katy Perry referenced her first hit, “I Kissed A Girl,” adding: “Truth be told, I did more than that.” She went on to detail struggling to reconcile that with her pro-conversion camp upbringing, saying: “Even then I knew sexuality wasn’t…black and white.”
During her speech, she offered herself as an example that evolution is possible and that even the most closed-minded upbringings offer the opportunity for change and for growth. “Real perception shift can happen if we open our minds and soften our hearts,” she said. “People can change — believe me.”
Her speech was emotional, raw, and honest, and maybe, just maybe, she’s right. Maybe this world does have the power to soften, and to grow with each new year, with each new generation, even if the status quo feels broken and beyond repair.
After all, she did it. That, if nothing else, should give us resolve.