"Many of the people I admire and trust and work with belong to the LGBTQ community, and without them, I would be half the person I am today."
The Human Rights Campaign honored Perry with the National Equality Award at the Los Angeles gala on March 18. The honor recognizes people who use their platform and voice to publicly stand up and fight for the LGBTQ community.
Perry's speech covered her Christian past, 2008's controversial One of the Boys track "Ur So Gay" and how the LGBTQ community has overcome adversity despite the odds.
Katy Perry aceptando el premio "HRC National Equality Award" por su lucha en la igualdad de genero.👏🏻👏🏻pic.twitter.com/7E9XZYCDAa
— Portal PopClap (@portalpopclap) March 19, 2017
"There’s no other community that has done more to shape who I am today and there is no other community that I believe in more than you," Perry said. "This community here tonight has achieved more progress toward a more perfect union in a short amount of time as any group in our history. So I stand with you and I know that we stand together against discrimination whether it bei n the LGBTQ community or our Latino brothers and sisters or the millions of Muslims in this country."
She reflected on her past, starting with "I Kissed A Girl." "Truth be told: A) I did more than that," Perry continued. "But B) How was I going to reconcile that with the gospel singing girl raised in youth groups that (was) pro-conversion camps. What I did know is that I was curious, and even then, I knew that sexuality wasn’t as black and white as this dress."
Then came the religious bout. "My first words were mama and dada, God and Satan. Right and wrong were taught to me on felt boards and of course through the glamorous Jan Crouch crying diamond teardrops every night on that Vaseline-TBN television screen. 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 barbeque. No way, no way. I wanted the pearly gates and unlimited fro-yo toppings."
Perry said she turned to prayer following teachings of anti-homosexuality education.
"Most of my unconscious adolescence, I prayed the gay away at my Jesus camps," she revealed. "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 of my bubble. My bubble started to burst."
In the music industry, Perry was introduced to an array of LGBTQ people.
"These people were 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," Perry continued. "These people are actually magic, and they are magic because they are living their truth. Oh my goddess, what a revelation – and not the last chapter of the Bible."
The "Roar" singer's longtime manager, Bradford Elton Cobb III, whom she describes as "one of the greatest champions of my life," is someone who inspired her new train of thought. "Many of the people I admire and trust and work with belong to the LGBTQ community, and without them, I would be half the person I am today. My life is rich in every capacity because of them. They are trusted allies that provide a safe space to fall, to not know it all and to make mistakes," she concluded at the close of her speech which was bookended by standing ovations. "I hope I stand here as evidence for all that it doesn’t matter where you come from, it is about where you are going. Real change, real evolution and real perception shift can happen if we open our minds and soften our hearts. People can change. Believe me."