Keke Palmer opened up about sexuality and gender while being honored Saturday by the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
“I’m so grateful to be here today to be embraced by a community that I’ve always felt accepted by and a part of,” the “Nope” star said. “I’ve always been my own person. Sexuality and identity for me has always been confusion. You know, it’s, ‘I never felt straight enough. I never felt gay enough. And I never felt woman enough. I never felt man enough.’ You know, I always felt like I was a little bit of everything.”
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Palmer was presented with a Vanguard Award from Karamo Brown during the center’s annual gala, which took place at the Fairmont Century Plaza hotel.
“So often, I lead with masculinity. And as a woman, I’ve always been met with so much disdain, you know what I mean?” Palmer said. “I think so much of that came from who I thought I had to be to get respect, admiration and love. And I’ve always really wanted to be like my father…to want to be taken seriously and not diminish because I was a woman. You know, that’s always been a source of — I guess you would say — pain and resentment.”
Palmer choked back tears as she continued. “Why did my gender have to define the power I have in the world? And why does my gender get to decide my sexuality?” she asked. “You know, since I was younger, I always questioned the boxes I was forced to be in and it starts with who you’re supposed to be as a child. You’re supposed to be as a black person or whatever the background you are from… Then those walls just try to cave you in from every damn angle, who you are as a creative, who you are as a friend.”
She added, “I’m truly so grateful to be seen in this room because I know I’m surrounded by people who know without a doubt what it’s like to decide to be who you are in a world that tells you to be everything but yourself.”
Pamela Anderson also received a Vanguard Award. Del Shores and Mayim Bialik delivered a tribute to the late Leslie Jordan. Ts Madison (“Bros”) hosted the gala, which raised more than $1 million for the center.
The evening’s guest list included Orville Peck, “Fire Island” star Zane Phillips, Trixie Mattel, Symone, Sarah Hyland, Isis King, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman and Gigi Goode.
Adam Lambert introduced a performance by Durand Bernarr.