R. Kelly's Daughter Jaah Kelly Speaks Out on Sexuality Years After Coming Out

The 18-year-old, the second of the musician's three children and who is also a music artist, opens up about her sexuality in an interview with Paper magazine.

By Corinne Heller Jun 27, 2019 6:35 PMTags
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R. Kelly's daughter Jaah Kelly is speaking her truth.

The 18-year-old, the second of the musician's three children and who is also a music artist, opens up about her sexuality in an interview with Paper magazine for its Pride issue, published on Thursday.

When Jaah was 14, she came out as a transgender male, who was attracted to girls, in comments and a video posted to her now-closed Ask.fm account. At the time, she went by the name Jay.

"When I posted that video, I was so scared," Jaah told Paper. "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 said that nowadays, she identifies as a "lesbian."

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"I know I like girls, but that's as far as I'll go to label myself," she 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?"

She also said that she doesn't mind if people refer to her as male, female, genderfluid, or nonbinary.

Jaah recalled falling into a depression and spending three weeks in a psychiatric hospital after coming out as transgender at age 14.

She also remembered how her fashion choices sometimes spurred strangers to tell her she was entering the "wrong" public restroom.

"One time at the Pride parade in Chicago, I was with [my sister] Buku and my cousin," Jaah says. "My sister had to use the bathroom afterward, but she was in there a while, so I went in to check on her. I kept putting my head in the bathroom just to make sure she was good. And this lady came up and was like, 'Sir, if you peek your head in the women's bathroom again, I'm going to call security.'"

Jaah said she was wearing a button-down shirt, which was open to reveal a sports bra.

"So then I just turned around and flashed her," she said. "She just walked away in disgust after that. It was so funny to me and Buku and often still is so funny—the mystery that people don't know what gender I am."