Keke Palmer was awarded the Vanguard Award, alongside Pamela Anderson and the late Leslie Jordan, at the Los Angeles LGBT Center Gala on Saturday (April 22). Hosted by Ts Madison, this marks their first gala in four years due to the pandemic.
When accepting the honor, the mother of one spoke on her personal commitment to LGBTQ+ activism.
“For me, it’s about freedom,” said Palmer, 29, via The Hollywood Reporter. “At the core, we are all trying to tell the world to let us be ourselves. Love me as I am, let me live as I am.”
The Nope actress added, “I’ve always been my own person, and sexuality and identity, for me, it’s always been confusion. I never felt straight enough; I never felt gay enough; I never felt woman enough; I never felt man enough. I always felt like I was a little bit of everything.”
Her appearance at the Gala was the KeyTV founder‘s first public one since giving birth. Additionally, she has been vocal about her fluid sexuality and her experiences being judged for it. During moments of presenting as androgynous or masculine, she’s been met with disdain leading to “pain and resentment.”
While fighting tears, 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? 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.”
Palmer concluded, “Those walls just try to cave you in from every damn angle—who you are as a creative, who you are as a friend. There is no greater masterpiece than living your truth.”
Watch snippets of her speech below.