Pride Month 2020: Advocating equality to slamming Trump's trans military ban, why Katy Perry is an LGBTQ icon
Katy Perry, an ongoing champion for the Pride community needs to be remembered during Pride Month 2020
As we near the halfway mark for Pride Month 2020, and in a year that seems to be rather chaotic, but more importantly, beckoning for change, let's take a moment to look at some of the best examples where Katy Perry championed the cause for the LGBTQIA++ community. With one of the most followed Twitter accounts, currently at 108.5 million followers, the 35-year-old pop star has leveraged her social media platforms to celebrate and stand up for the Pride culture. In 2017, President Donald Trump banned transgenders from serving in the military. Trump's tweets announcing the ban were followed by an unaccepting Perry who said that "ALL those who defend our right to live freely should be able to serve freely!" The impassioned 'Roar' singer added, "There are THOUSANDS currently serving!"
One of her earlier notable mentions is when Perry made it clear she wasn't a singer who would fall in line with conventional hetero-spirited themes like many of her pop counterparts with her 2008 breakout hit 'I Kissed A Girl'. The song received wide acclaim but critics weren't as overjoyed by its message, claiming that it fetishized lesbians. According to NME, ten years later after its release, in 2018 Perry said that she would change the lyrics if she could. “If I had to write that song again, I probably would make an edit on it,” she admitted. “Lyrically, it has a couple of stereotypes in it. Your mind changes so much in 10 years, and you grow so much. What’s true for you can evolve," she said.
In 2017, Perry opened up for the first time during an acceptance speech for the National Equality Award at the Human Rights Campaign Gala about her bisexual experiences and how she eventually came to accept her fluid sexuality. "There’s no other community who has done more for me, to shape who I am today and there is no other community I believe in more than you - I stand with you," she said. Perry also spoke about 'I Kissed A Girl'. "I speak my truths and I paint my fantasies into these little bite-sized pop songs," she noted. "For instanced; 'I Kissed a Girl – and I liked it,'" she said, referring to the famous line from the song, adding, "Truth be told I did more than that." She said, "I was curious. I knew that sexuality wasn’t as black and white as this dress."
Another song by the singer which stood up for the LGBTQIA++ community is her 2010 self-empowering track 'Firework'. Perry dedicated the video for the song to the It Gets Better Project, a worldwide movement against harassment of LGBTQIA++ youth. The Dave Meyers-directed visual follows the story of a gay teen boy who embraces his sexuality. When Barack Obama became the first sitting US president to openly support same-sex marriage in 2012, according to Parade, Perry said she was "really happy" about the political moment. "My viewpoint on all these things -- equality for women, the choice to love anyone you want -- hopefully, we will look back at this moment and think like we do now concerning [other] civil rights issues," she said, adding, "We'll just shake our heads in disbelief, saying, 'Thank God we've evolved.'"
The Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal three years later in June 2015. Perry reacted by tweeting, "Really encouraged to be an American today... Love should live beyond labels & intolerance! #LoveWins #EqualityForAll ??"
Perry has also joined the fight for transgender rights. In 2012, the pop star honored Transgender Day of Remembrance as she spent it with staff and volunteers from The Trevor Project, a crisis intervention and suicide prevention organization for LGBTQIA++ youth, to learn more about gender non-conforming people and their challenges. When she received the Trevor Project's Hero Award at TrevorLive in 2012, Perry said, "I hope in the future we will all be able to grow beyond labels. I believe everyone has value and everyone deserves respect and everyone deserves a chance 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 Golden Girl is Blanche or Dorothy. … I thank you all for this award and for educating me so that I can educate others."
After slamming Trump's transgender military ban in 2017, the singer publically backed Gavin Grimm, the Virginia teenager who entered the national spotlight as the face of the ongoing bathroom debate. This was when Trump declared he'd revoke transgender students' rights to use bathrooms according to their gender identities. Like many celebrities who fight for the LGBTQIA++ community, Perry has had her fair share of criticism, but her consistent stance for the cause should not go unnoticed.