Katy Perry has discussed her strictly religious upbringing during a speech she delivered for LGBTQ equality at the weekend, and how that conflicted with how she explored her sexuality as she grew up.

The 32 year old is one of the biggest pop stars in the world, regularly using her status and platform to campaign on political issues from a liberal standpoint, but she grew up in a devoutly evangelical household as the daughter of Pentecostal pastors.

She offered an insight into what it was like growing up in such an environment as she collected the National Equality Award at the Human Rights Campaign Gala, an event she attended with fellow celebrities Lena Dunham and America Ferrera.

Katy PerryKaty Perry gave an insight into her strict religious upbringing

“My first words were Momma and Poppa, God and Satan. Right and wrong were taught to me on feltboards… When I was growing up homosexuality was synonymous with the word abomination.”

Then, referencing her iconic 2008 breakthrough hit, she said: “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”.

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Perry revealed that she “pray[ed] the gay away in my Jesus camps” during her struggles with her sexuality.

“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 was I was curious and even then I knew sexuality wasn’t as black and white as this dress,” she continued. “Honestly, I haven’t always gotten it right, 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.”

Perry said that it was her ascent to stardom that punctured the “bubble” of her perception about the LGBTQ community. “These people were nothing like I’d been taught to fear. They were the most free, strong, kind and inclusive people.”

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