katy perry finally reveals the truth behind ‘i kissed a girl’

'Most of my unconscious adolescence, I prayed the gay away at my Jesus camps,' the former church singer revealed at a Human Rights Campaign gala.

by i-D Staff and Hannah Ongley
20 March 2017, 9:35pm


When Katy Perry rose to dizzying heights of fame in 2008 with "I Kissed a Girl," the song sparked controversy amongst both conservative and LGBTQ groups. The former took issue with the nominally queer lyrics while the latter accused Katy of appropriating bisexuality to sell music. Almost a decade after the contentious pop anthem was first released, Katy has now revealed that it was, in fact, autobiographical. And that conservative groups would have been a whole lot more butthurt had she told the full story.

While accepting the Human Rights Campaign's National Equality Award in Los Angeles on Sunday, Katy spoke out about her sexuality for the first time, referencing her deeply religious upbringing and the song that first made her a superstar. "I'm just a singer and songwriter, honestly," 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'."

Katy revealed that she did more than just kiss a girl, but kept her bi-curiosity a secret because of her community's homophobic teachings (her first words were "Mumma, Daddy, Jesus, and Satan.") "How was I going to reconcile [my bi-curiosity] with a gospel singing girl raised in youth groups that were pro-conversion camps?" she asked. "What I did know was I was curious and even then I knew sexuality wasn't as black and white as this dress." She even tried to "pray the gay away" at Jesus camps.

The pop star admitted that she hasn't "always gotten it right" when it comes to tackling LGBTQ issues through music. Katy also attracted a fair amount of criticism for the 2008 ex-boyfriend diss track "Ur So Gay," in which she used the word "gay" as a homophobic slur. "But in 2008 when ['I Kissed a Girl'] came out I knew that I started a conversation that a lot of the world seemed curious enough to sing along to," she told the audience, before calling her LGBTQ fans "actually magic." 

The staunch Hillary Clinton supporter also didn't miss the chance to throw shade at Mike Pence. Shortly after the November election, Katy donated $10,000 to Planned Parenthood in the name of the now-VP — who, oddly enough, used to be a KatyCat despite those famous lesbian lyrics. 


Text Hannah Ongley
Image via Instagram

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