Halifax’s Candy Palmater calls herself “a dyke-cotomy.”
Palmater said that’s because she often finds herself walking in two opposite worlds, with a career as a political activist and a raunchy comedian; a family that includes a Mi’kmaq father and a white mother; and a past that includes long-term relationships with men and a present that includes a commitment to a female fiancée.
“I’ve tried both sides of every set of tracks there are,” Palmater, 40, said with a friendly chuckle inside her Gladstone Street home over the weekend.
While she gussied herself up for a dinner party, it became clear she’s also simultaneously down-to-Earth and a diva, with a strong social conscience and an equally strong awareness of fashion.
And despite growing up in Point La Nim, N.B., as the youngest of seven children without much money to go around, Palmater wrestled every obstacle that stood in her way.
From leading the unionization of a local Tim Hortons to being named valedictorian when she graduated from Dalhousie Law School, Palmater’s determination seems to have proven stronger than any discrimination she has faced along her continuing road to success.
“I’m on the outside in so many ways,” she said, explaining this is one of the major reasons she emphasizes the importance of kindness and inclusion at her many public-speaking events. “If all of that can live in me, then all of that should be able to be in the world as well.”