Keke Palmer Receives Vanguard Award


Kendal McCloud

On Saturday April 22 the Los Angeles LGBT Center Gala, hosted by TS Madison, returned after a four year hiatus. The event was held at the Fairmont Century Plaza.

Actress Keke Palmer received the Vanguard Award along with actress Pamela Anderson and late actor Leslie Jordan. During her acceptance speech, Palmer spoke candidly about her journey with sexuality, gender, identity, and how other perceived her.

“I’ve always been my own person,” Palmer said. “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.”

Keke Palmer with TS Madison and Karamo Brown

In 2015, Palmer came out as sexually fluid. During her acceptance speech, Palmer revealed that her journey has also included presenting as more masculine at times.

“Why did my gender have to define the power I have in the world? And why does my gender get to decide my sexuality?” Palmer said. “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.”

“For me, it’s about freedom. 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.” Palmer added.

In a social media statement made about Palmer’s award, center officials said her “tremendous talent, unapologetic attitude, and fierce commitment to social justice make her a true trailblazer, and we’re beyond thrilled to honor her tonight.”