Keke Palmer says she’s ‘a little bit of everything’ when it comes to gender and sexuality

Keke Palmer accepts honour at the LA LGBT Center Awards as she discussed her identity.

Nope star Keke Palmer opened up about struggling with her LGBTQ+ identity while being honoured at the Los Angeles LGBT Center Gala.

The actor, who rose to fame over 15 years ago with her Nickelodeon show True Jackson VP, has consistently spoken up for the queer community. She finally got her flowers on Saturday (22 April).

The gala, attended by Adam Lambert, Sarah Hyland, Queer Eye‘s Karamo Brown, RuPaul’s Drag Race star Peppermint and Ts Madison, awarded Palmer alongside cultural icon Pamela Anderson and the late Leslie Jordan.

Brown presented Palmer with the Vanguard Award, which she gracefully accepted with a heartfelt speech about the “confusion” navigating her own identity. “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,” she began, as reported in Variety.

“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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Keke Palmer (L) with Ts Madison and Karamo Brown (R).
Keke Palmer (L) with Ts Madison and Karamo Brown (R). (Getty)

She shared how she has always been “met with disdain” for leading with her “masculinity”.

“So much of that came from who I thought I had to be to get respect, admiration and love,” she continued, trying to emulate her “father” in order to not be “diminished” because she was a woman.

“That’s always been a source of pain and resentment,” she admitted.

She concluded on an emotional note, asking: “Why did my gender have to define the power I have in the world? And why does my gender get to decide my sexuality?

“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.”

“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.”

Keke Palmer, who recently celebrated the birth of her first child with her partner Darius Jackson, has previously opened up about her sexuality being somewhere “in the middle of the scale”. “I feel like love is love, life is life. Do you thing, live you life. I feel that way,” she said.

She has also praised the inclusion of a lesbian character in Disney’s Lightyear in which she voiced her own character, Izzy Hawthorne. “Disney, Pixar, there’s a wide audience, and a lot of their audience is obviously LGBTQ+, women, Black women … people that want to be represented in films,” she said at the time, “So, yes, 100 per cent, I think it is progress.”

Most recently, Palmer starred in Disney Channel reboot The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder as Maya, one of two siblings raised by two dads. The show tackles themes around the LGBTQ+ community, race and the pain of growing up.

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