It takes a hell of a lot of courage to come out to your friends, family and the world as anything other than heterosexual. The way the world is programmed, the general public tends to alienate LGBTQ+ members of society as “others,” which is unfair. Someone should not be treated differently because of who they love. R. Kelly’s daughter, Jaah Kelly, came out as a transgender male four years ago on her then-active Ask.fm account, naming herself Jay Kelly, but these days, she’s more in tune with her sexuality and is actually identifying as lesbian. In a new interview with Paper Magazine, Jaah spoke about her sexuality and how difficult it was to reveal her truth.
Rick Diamond/Getty Images — Robert Kelley, (Reality Star – Hollywood Exes) Andrea (Drea) Kelly, Joann Kelly and Jaah Kelly attend the Atlanta Premiere Of Cirque du Soleil’s KURIOS – Cabinet Of Curiosities on March 3, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia
“When I posted that video, I was so scared,” says Jaah about a post she made, coming out as trans. “When I was younger, I always felt like I had to make a choice. I knew that I was a girl who liked other girls. But because of what I was taught, I felt like the only way you could like another girl is if you were a boy.” Jaah started wearing men’s clothing and during her interview, she recalled a time when she and her sister Buku Abi attended Chicago Pride when one woman called her out for using the women’s bathroom.
Jaah fell into a deep depression after coming out as trans, entering herself into a psychiatric hospital for three weeks. These days though, she’s comfortable referring to herself as a lesbian. “I identify as a lesbian, I know I like girls, but that’s as far as I’ll go to label myself,” Jaah said. “It’s up to you how you see me. Either way, I don’t care. I stand in my truth, and why does my truth need a label?”
Big ups to Jaah Kelly for being true to herself. The 18-year-old speaks on her experiences in depth with Paper, out now.