Katy Perry Champions LGBTQ Equality at Human Rights Campaign Gala

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Katy Perry gave an impassioned speech calling for LGBTQ equality at the 2017 Human Rights Campaign Gala on Saturday, while accepting the organization’s National Equality Award.

The pop star recounted growing up in a conservative Christian family, saying she was taught that “homosexuality was synonymous with the word abomination” and described how she would “pray the gay away at my Jesus camps.” Perry went on to talk about how that “bubble started to burst” when she was introduced to LGBTQ friends and colleagues. “These people were nothing like I had been taught to fear,” she said. “They were the most free, strong, kind and inclusive people I have ever met.”

“I have to stand for what I know is true and that is equality and justice for all people — period,” she told the audience at the Los Angeles event.

“It’s time to lead with empathy, grace and compassion, now more than ever,” Perry concluded. “I’ll never cease to be a champion, an ally, a spotlight and a loving voice for all LGBTQ-identifying people.”

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