The pop star, who was honored with the National Equality Award at the Human Rights Campaign Gala on Saturday night, admitted that she'd spent her teen years trying to pray "the gay away in [her] Jesus camps."
"'I kissed a girl and I liked it.' Truth be told, I did more than that," the "Dark Horse" hitmaker confessed. "But 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, "And 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."
Getting visibly emotional as she dedicated the honor to her manager Bradford Cobb, the singer opened up about how music and the people she met in the music world finally freed her to be herself.
"These people were nothing like I had been taught to fear. They were the most free, strong, kind and inclusive people I have ever met," she said. "[They] stimulated my mind. They filled my heart with joy and they freakin' danced all the while doing it."
Watch Perry's full speech in the tweets above.