Keke Palmer Says She's Experienced 'Confusion' About Her Sexuality

Speaking her truth. Keke Palmer opened up about her personal journey with gender and sexuality while accepting an award at the Los Angeles LGBT Center Gala.

“I’ve always been my own person, and sexuality and identity, for me, it’s always been confusion,” the Nope star, 29, said as she received the Vanguard Award — which was also presented to Pamela Anderson and the late Leslie Jordan — on Saturday, April 22. “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.”

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The Nickelodeon alum — who was introduced by Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown at the event — went on to describe how she always wanted to be like her father, Larry Palmer. However, Keke noted that she also felt “pain and resentment” after using masculinity in order to be “taken seriously and not diminish because I was a woman.”

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. … Those walls just try to cave you in from every damn angle — who you are as a creative, who you are as a friend.”

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Going on to thank the ceremony’s attendees — noting that they “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” — the Scream Queens alum concluded her speech on an empowering note. “There is no greater masterpiece than living your truth,” she added.

Keke was honored on Saturday night for her commitment to LGBTQ+ activism. The gala marked the Lightyear star’s first major public outing since welcoming her son with boyfriend Darius Jackson. “Born during Black History Month, with a name to match 😄!” the actress captioned pics and videos of her newborn via Instagram on February 27. “LEODIS ANDRELLTON JACKSON, welcome to the world baby Leo.”

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Two months before giving birth, Keke revealed she was expecting her first child while making her Saturday Night Live hosting debut. She unveiled her baby bump during her opening monologue.

“This has been the biggest blessing, and I am so excited. Guys, I’m going to be a mom!” the Emmy winner said on the NBC sketch comedy series in December 2022. “Even though some people feel a little weird about me having a baby ‘cause I was a child actor, I just wanna say, ‘Look, I’m 29, I’m grown, I have sex [and] I own a home. … You know, things adults do.’”

Keke accidentally announced the sex of her child while discussing zodiac signs on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in January. “So, my baby is either going to be a Pisces or an Aries. I’m not sure exactly,” the Alice star — who is a Virgo — told host Jimmy Fallon. “I mean, Pisces are known to be very deep, they’re emotional creatures, so I just want to make sure I’m not too blunt for my baby boy.”

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Ahead of her Vanguard Award win, the Hustlers actress has previously been candid about her sexuality. In the 2015 music video for her song “I Don’t Belong to You,” she is shown leaving a man in bed at the beginning of the video and later arriving at a woman’s house in lingerie.

“My sexuality is defined by me,” she said of the video in a 2016 interview with XONecole. “And that can change and this can change, and I can make it what I want to make it because I’m the one who makes that choice. So that’s what ‘I Don’t Belong to You’ is saying. This song feels right. It feels right and it’s telling who I am. And it captures my identity.”

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