Katy Perry has revealed she used to try and “pray the gay away” while accepting the National Equality Award from the Human Rights Campaign at its annual gala in LA.

The pop star – who had a deeply religious upbringing – opened up about her sexuality for the first time, referencing the track that made her famous.

“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’.

“Truth be told – a) I did more than that, but b) 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.

“And honestly, I haven’t always gotten it right. But in 2008 when that song came out I knew that I started a conversation that a lot of the world seemed curious enough to sing along to.”

Perry went on to say that she learnt a twisted version of right and wrong early (“my first words were Mumma, Daddy, Jesus and Satan”), and that where she grew up, “homosexuality” was synonymous with “abomination”, and would lead you straight to hell.

“No way, no way,” she said. “I wanted the pearly gates and the unlimited Froyo toppings. So, most of my unconscious adolescence I prayed the gay away at my Jesus camps. But then in the middle of it all, in a twist of events, I found my gift, and my gift introduced me to people outside my bubble.”

She later tweeted that she would never stop being an ally and a champion for LGTBQ people.

The HRC also honoured actress America Ferrera with the Ally for Equality Award, and Senator Tim Kaine gave the keynote address.

“[Perry’s] compelling advocacy, from the stage to the campaign trail, has had a profound effect on the lives of LGBTQ people – and, in particular, young people,” the president of the HRC said in a statement when announcing the award. “Katy’s message of inclusion and equality continues to inspire us and the world.”

Photo: Frazer Harrison / Getty.