Katy Perry says she 'wasn't allowed to interact with gay people' while growing up


Among today's most political pop figureheads, Katy Perry is at the top. Take her performance at the 2017 Grammys, for instance, where she projected the Constitution onto the stage and herself, clad in a "Persist" armband and a white suit in a nod to her icon, Hillary Clinton. Or, her performance at the Democratic National Convention, where she supported Clinton—whom she later honored with a pair of shoes Katy designed. What you might not be aware of, however, is that it took years for Katy to arrive at that place. In the May issue of Vogue, Katy opens up about her political journey, revealing some pretty personal stories about her ultra-conservative family.

The pop artist's parents were evangelical Christian pastors, and prevented her from interacting with the LGBTQ community until later in life. "Education was not the first priority," she tells Vogue. "My education started in my 20s, and there is so much to learn still." Of her upbringing, she admits she wasn't "allowed to interact with gay people" and "There's some generational racism."

"But I came out of the womb asking questions, curious from day one, and I am really grateful for that: My curiosity has led me here. Anything I don't understand, I will just ask questions about."

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SANTA MONICA, CA - APRIL 06: Katy Perry attends Caroline De Maigret and Pharrell Williams dinner in celebration of CHANEL's Gabrielle Bag at Giorgio Baldi on April 6, 2017 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Donato Sardella/Getty Images for CHANEL)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 25: Katy Perry celebrates Elton John's 70th Birthday and 50-Year Songwriting Partnership with Bernie Taupin benefiting the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the UCLA Hammer Museum at RED Studios Hollywood on March 25, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 18: Katy Perry attends the Human Rights Campaign's 2017 on March 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 18: Katy Perry attends the Human Rights Campaign's 2017 Los Angeles Gala Dinner at JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE on March 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images)
INGLEWOOD, CA - MARCH 05: Katy Perry attends the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards at The Forum on March 5, 2017 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by C Flanigan/Getty Images)
INGLEWOOD, CA - MARCH 05: Katy Perry attends the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards at The Forum on March 5, 2017 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)
INGLEWOOD, CA - MARCH 05: Singer Katy Perry performs onstage at the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards which broadcast live on Turner's TBS, TNT, and truTV at The Forum on March 5, 2017 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
INGLEWOOD, CA - MARCH 05: Musician Katy Perry performs onstage at the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards which broadcast live on Turner's TBS, TNT, and truTV at The Forum on March 5, 2017 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 26: Katy Perry (R) and Derek Blasberg (L) pose as they arrive at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, California, Los Angeles on February 26, 2017. (Photo by Philip Rock/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Singer Katy Perry arrives at the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 26, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 22: Katy Perry attends the Universal Music BRIT Awards After-Party 2017 hosted by Soho House and BACARDI Rum at 180 The Strand, on February 23, 2017 in London, England. PHOTOGRAPH BY Jules Annan / Barcroft Images London-T:+44 207 033 1031 E:hello@barcroftmedia.com - New York-T:+1 212 796 2458 E:hello@barcroftusa.com - New Delhi-T:+91 11 4053 2429 E:hello@barcroftindia.com www.barcroftimages.com (Photo credit should read Jules Annan / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 22: Ellie Goulding and Katy Perry attend (R) the Universal Music BRIT Awards After-Party 2017 hosted by Soho House and BACARD�at 180 The Strand on February 22, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/ Getty Images for Universal, Soho House & Bacardi Rum )
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 22: EDITORIAL USE ONLY. Katy Perry attends The BRIT Awards 2017 at The O2 Arena on February 22, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/Redferns)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 22: EDITORIAL USE ONLY. (L) Katy Perry and Skip Marley perform on stage at The BRIT Awards 2017 at The O2 Arena on February 22, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 21: Katy Perry seen at BBC Radio One on February 21, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Neil Mockford/GC Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 20: Katy Perry attends at the Christopher Kane show during the London Fashion Week February 2017 collections on February 20, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 20: Katy Perry seen at Christopher Kane at Tate Britain on Day 4 of London Fashion Week February 2017 on February 20, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by SAV/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 16: Singer-songwriter Katy Perry is seen arriving at the Marc Jacobs Fall 2017 Show at Park Avenue Armory on February 16, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Singer Katy Perry arrives at the 59th GRAMMY Awards at the Staples Center on February 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 12: Katy Perry performs during THE 59TH ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS, broadcast live from the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, Sunday, Feb. 12 (8:00-11:30 PM, live ET/5:00-8:30 PM, live PT; 6:00-9:30 PM, live MT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Singer-songwriter Katy Perry arrives at the Universal Music Group's 2017 GRAMMY After Party at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on February 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Singer Katy Perry attends the Universal Music Group's 2017 GRAMMY After Party at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on February 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Greg Doherty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Singer Katy Perry attends The 59th GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on February 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS)
WESTWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 07: Singer Katy Perry arrives at the Los Angeles Premiere of 'Office Christmas Party' at Regency Village Theatre on December 7, 2016 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
WESTWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 07: Katy Perry and Jennifer Aniston attend the Premiere of Paramount Pictures' 'Office Christmas Party' at Regency Village Theatre on December 7, 2016 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 30: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Katy Perry and Tony Winner Cynthia Erivo pose backstage at the hit musical 'The Color Purple' on Broadway at The Jacobs Theatre on November 30, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 29: Cindi Jaliher, Katy Perry (C), and Carol Edwards attend the 12th annual UNICEF Snowflake Ball at Cipriani Wall Street on November 29, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for UNICEF )
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 29: Singer Katy Perry attends the 12th Annual UNICEF Snowflake Ball at Cipriani Wall Street on November 29, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 29: Katy Perry attends the 12th Annual UNICEF Snowflake Ball at Cipriani Wall Street on November 29, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
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It's that urge Katy wants others to have, more than pressing her own political views onto them. "I don't think you have to shout it from the rooftops," she says, "but I think you have to stand for something...If you have a voice you have a responsibility to use it now, more than ever."

What inspires her is that she sees so many young people doing just that, which was a silver lining for her amid Clinton's loss to President Donald Trump. "I was really disheartened for a while; it just brought up a lot of trauma for me," she says of the aftermath of the 2016 election. "Misogyny and sexism were in my childhood: I have an issue with suppressive males and not being seen as equal. I felt like a little kid again being faced with a scary, controlling guy. I wouldn't really stand for it in my work life, because I have had so much of that in my personal life. But it's an awakening that was necessary because I think we were in a false utopia...we can't ever get that stagnant again. I am so grateful that young people know the names of senators. I think teenage girls are going to save the world! That age group just seems to be holding people accountable. They have a really strong voice—and a loud one." In other words, they roar.

Read the complete story and see the photos from her cover shoot on Vogue.com, and pick up the issue on newsstands April 25.

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