The “Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta” star announced her male-identified status at age 14, and admits the move was quite traumatic.
Jaah, who now identifies as a lesbian at age 18, told Paper that coming out as trans left her depressed, followed by a three-week psychiatric hospital stay.
“When I posted that video, I was so scared,” Jaah shares in the magazine’s pride issue. “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.”
She now identifies as a lesbian along with nonbinary and gender fluid.
“I identify as a lesbian. I know I like girls, but that’s as far as I’ll go to label myself,” she says. “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?”
Jaah didn’t mention her controversial father in the interview, but mother Drea Kelly noted that “One thing she gets from her father, true in her DNA, is her ability to create and produce by ear. She’s entirely self-taught,” Drea said . “When she wanted to learn piano, she just came to me one day and told me she taught herself how on YouTube. The same goes for making beats. To have my JaahBaby doing what she does in a male-dominated industry makes her all the more extraordinary in my eyes.”
Drea also recalled the time her daughter came out and how she reacted. “I remember when Jaah first came out to me when she was 10 years old. She thought, ‘Oh Mama, I was scared to tell you because I didn’t think you would love me,” Drea said. “But the unconditional love of a mother is like that of God. There is nothing you could do to earn it and there is nothing you could ever do to lose it. I told her, ‘I love you because you’re mine, not because of your orientation. I’m always gonna be here to protect you.’ Meantime, live that best life, and live it out loud and in color. Who gives a damn what anybody else thinks?”