Katy Perry gave an illuminating, powerful speech on Saturday night while she accepted the Human Rights Campaign National Equality Award in Los Angeles. During her time at the podium, Perry spoke about her own sexuality and the long, complicated journey she took to accepting herself and encouraging others to accept her for who she is as well.
"I hope I stand here as real evidence for all that no matter where you came from, it's about where you are going, and that real change, real evolution, real perception shift can happen if we open our minds and soften our hearts," Perry began her HRC award acceptance speech, and she appeared deeply moved by the occasion. Although she spent a short time on stage, Perry was able to connect her own experiences with the importance of equality and acceptance of all sexualities and genders.
For Perry, it wasn't always sunshine and rainbows. She has spoken openly before about growing up in a Christian household and how deeply ingrained Christianity was in her childhood. She even began her musical career as a Christian musician. When Perry exhibited any desire to move away from perceived positive Christian behavior, she spoke about how her parents would shame her and attempt to change her behavior.
Perry said at the HRC gala, "How was I going to reconcile that with the 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 was not as black and white as this dress. 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."
That song was "I Kissed a Girl," which in 2008 was the absolute smash hit pop song of the year. Its celebration of bi-curious behavior arguably opened the doors for a wider discussion around female sexuality and the breaking down of a strict binary in sexuality. For Perry, staying true to herself and honoring her own sexuality was more important than clinging to Christianity. This belief, as she said, is now foundational to her impetus to support the LGBTQ community in their continued fight for equality.
"You don’t get to choose your family, but you can choose your tribe," Perry said at the end of her speech. "No longer can I sit in silence. I have to stand up for what I feel is true, and that is equality and justice for all, period." Can I get a hell to the yes?
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