Keke Palmer and actress Pamela Anderson both received the Vanguard Award during the Los Angeles LGBT Center Gala on Saturday. Actor Leslie Jordan, a longtime center affiliate and former host of the gala, who passed away last October was posthumously given a self-titled award.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Palmer gave a moving speech when receiving her award where she addressed her own feelings about sexuality. “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.”
She added that the feelings often caused “pain and resentment.”
“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 continued. “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.” She continued, “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,” she added.
The event hosted by Ts Madison, raised $1.2 million to go toward senior and youth services, culture and culinary programs and mental health resources. The center holds the status as the largest nonprofit serving queer and trans communities internationally.
Palmer said of the center’s mission.“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.”
Anderson, who recently released her Netflix documentary Pamela: A Love Story, thanked the center and queer community at large for accepting her, saying, “I am rooting for you. Thank you for rooting for me.”
Music was provided by singer-songwriter Durand Bernarr who received a Rising Star Award.