Keke Palmer has been famous for a long time, entertaining audiences since she was a child star. When a celebrity is in the public eye for that long, we think we know almost everything about them. However, the Nope actress recently revealed a very personal part of herself and in the process, may have helped others understand themselves a little better. According to Variety, on Saturday, while accepting the Vanguard Award at the LGBT Center’s The Gala in Los Angeles, Keke discussed her feelings on sexuality and gender 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. I’ve always been my own person. Sexuality and identity for me has always been confusion,” she said. “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.”
The Password host explained her confusion by noting the differences in the way men and women are treated. She wanted to be seen and respected in a way that women in this world aren’t.
“So often, I lead with masculinity. And as a woman, I’ve always been met with so much disdain,” Palmer said. “I think so much of that came from who I thought I had to be to get respect, admiration and love. I’ve always really wanted to be like my father…to want to be taken seriously and not diminish because I was a woman. That’s always been a source of pain and resentment.”
It’s so important for popular artists like Keke to help initiate these conversations. WIth anti-LGBTQ+ laws sweeping across the country, these kind of statements will help spread a greater understanding about sexuality and gender identity. It’s not as cut and dry as some politicians like to pretend it is.
“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,” she added. “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.”
When Republicans go on TV and purposely misgender trans people, enact laws banning trans kids from sports and mock pronouns on social media, they don’t care about the confusion or struggle with identity that some LGBTQ+ youth are dealing with. When the community has allies like Keke Palmer openly discussing sexuality and gender identity, it humanizes these issues and reminds everyone that there are very real people behind the conversation.