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Katy Perry Wasn't 'Allowed to Interact with Gay People' Growing Up

Katy Perry
Richard Shotwell/AP

The "I Kissed a Girl" singer reflected on childhood with Vogue.

During Katy Perry's recent Vogue interview, the singer discussed being raised in a sheltered Christian household. Though Perry first garnered fame with her queer 2008 single, "I Kissed a Girl," her relationship with sexuality hasn't always been so openly liberated. As the daughter of evangelical Pentecostal pastors, she admits to have grown up in a "bubble beyond the bubble" filled with like-minded people.

Perry adds that she wasn't "allowed to interact with gay people" and recalls some "generational racism," though she was always a curious girl, eager to ask questions and learn more about the world. She and her family would picket pop concerts by Madonna and Marilyn Manson, handing out pamphlets titled, "How to Find God." But when Perry actually watched Manson's live performance for the first time (with her pastor, no less), she told Vogue she "got it."

During the star's speech last month at the Human Rights Campaign Gala, Perry spoke about her own sexual experiences with women and the meaning behind her breakout song. "I speak my truths and I paint my fantasies into these little bite size pop songs," she told the Los Angeles audience. "For instance, 'I kissed a girl and I liked it.' Truth be told, I did more than that."

She continued, discussing how she wrestled as a child with balancing her sexuality and religion: "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."

Recognizing that "I Kissed a Girl" started a necessary mainstream conversation, Perry concluded, calling the LGBTQ community the most "free, strong, kind and inclusive people" she knows. Revisit her speech, below.

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