"When I was growing up, homosexuality was synonymous with the word 'abomination' … and hell."

By Hayden Wright

On Saturday Night, Katy Perry accepted the ccccNational Equality Award from the Human Rights Campaign, a leading LGBTQ advocacy group. She appeared at the 2017 Los Angeles Gala Dinner and in her speech discussed gay friends, pop music and how she overcame a sheltered, intolerant childhood.

Related: Listen to the Hot Chip Remix of Katy Perry’s ‘Chained to the Rhythm’

“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,” Perry said. “So I stand with you and I know that we stand together against discrimination, whether it be in the LGBTQ community or our Latino brothers and sisters or the millions of Muslims in this country.”

Perry recalled her breakthrough single “I Kissed a Girl” and how its message was at odds with the way she was raised in the church. Both of Perry’s parents are conservative preachers.

“Truth be told: A) I did more than that,” Perry said. “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.”

The avid Hillary Clinton supporter didn’t miss a chance to roast the current presidential administration.

“When I was growing up, homosexuality was synonymous with the word ‘abomination’ … and hell,” she said. “A place of gnashing of teeth, continual burning of skin and probably Mike Pence’s ultimate guest list for a barbecue. No way, no way. I wanted the pearly gates and unlimited fro-yo toppings.”

As Perry explored her own sexuality, she remembered how that journey was met with intolerance from the outset.

“Most of my unconscious adolescence, I prayed the gay away at my Jesus camps,” she said. “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.”

Finally, the “Chained to the Rhythm” singer paid tribute to the LGBTQ people in her life today, who make her life “rich in every capacity.”

“They are trusted allies that provide a safe space to fall, to not know it all and to make mistakes,” she said. “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.”

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