Christmas was always a difficult time for me: what if my family discovered the shameful secret that I was gay? I would be shunned, for sure. But what else would befall me? Over the years, I did a number of things to distract them - from being the best little girl in the world to being an obnoxious drunk rebel. And I was always suicidal. I can't imagine what my life would have been like had I had a fun role model like singer Katy Perry who celebrated "difference" and told the world that someone like me was brilliant, unique and amazing just as I was.
Recently Katy Perry was honored by The Trevor Project - the organization that runs a 24/7 helpline for LGBTQ youth (866-488-7386). She talked about coming from "a very intolerant environment" - a "mindset" from which she freed herself (see the documentary about her life). And she talked about how she is now surrounded by gay people - including her best friend who she takes home for Christmas to a family that has grown in perspective.
Here is Katy Perry's acceptance speech (excerpted below), followed by her inspiring song "Firework" which will hopefully ignite your own uniqueness. If you are having difficulty with folks spouting antigay religious bigotry, check out Jeremy Hooper's blog Good As You - where he routinely dissects their lies. "If you’re praying to a God whose earthly to-do list is most dependent on how fully his mortals shun LGBT people, then you’re doing it wrong. Give God a little more credit than that," he writes.
BUT IF YOU NEED HELP and can't get through to the Trevor Helpline, PLEASE CALL: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the GLBT National Youth Talkline at 1-800-246-PRIDE (1-800-246-7743). You are not alone.
An excerpt of Katy Perry's acceptance speech is after the jump.
EXCERPT OF KATY PERRY'S ACCEPTANCE SPEECH:
See, I grew up in a very intolerant environment. For a long time, I was told that people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender or questioning were an 'abomination.' But when I started to ask questions, it was hard to find answers that made sense from the bubble around me. As I've grown up, I've freed myself from that mindset. Coming from where I came from, I never thought that the LGBTQ community would be so intricately woven into my everyday life - from my management to my assistant, who does all kinds of crazy things for me - to my best friend who is here tonight and comes to every family Christmas. I thank God that there has been some growth and perspective in my family. I believe in change - and it's not about judging, it's about educating. See, for me, I believe that sexuality is fluid. Nobody introduces me as: 'This is Katy Perry. She's straight.' I hope in the future that we will all be able to grow beyond our labels. (Cheers) Thank you. Beyond treating 'the gays' as a novelty 'friend group.' See, I believe that everyone has value and everyone deserves respect and everyone deserves to live their dream - regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity or race or religion or size or the color of their hair or whether their favorite 'Gold Girl' is Blanche or Dorothy. (laughter) Dorothy. I'm so nervous.
I hope that all the LGBTQ youth know that they are as valuable as anyone else. That they are amazing and unique and make the world a more vibrant place.
Trevor's life-saving, life-affirming work helps youth find the future they deserve. I want every young person to choose to have a tomorrow - to dream for the future. And if they don't get to hear it enough - I hope they know that they can pick up the phone to call the Trevor lifeline. Or log on and talk to someone on Trevor chat. It's all right to ask for help. You are worth it. Make a pledge to yourself to get help if you need it because we need you in our lives.
My mantra has been: Be yourself and you can be anything. So I am so proud to be honored by an organization that believes the same exact thing. And I'm so active in reminding LGBTQ young about it. I am looking forward to working so much more closely with the Trevor Project in years to come. And I thank you all for this award and for educating me so I can educate others. Thank you.