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Lyra McKee's inspirational letter to her 14-year-old self about being gay 'should be read by all teenagers'

Ms McKee worked as an editor for California-based news site Mediagazer. Credit: Facebook

Gun violence in Northern Ireland has brought an early end to the career of a "promising" journalist whose inspiring writing had already seen her named on Forbes Magazine's '30 under 30' in media.

Lyra McKee, 29, who was shot dead amid unrest in Londonderry, was set to become a published author and was named Sky News young journalist of the year in 2016.

But it was a letter she wrote to her 14-year-old self about growing up gay in Belfast which gained her prominence and there was even a short film made about the powerful piece.

The letter, which was published and applauded in 2014 is again receiving praise online, with one social media user saying it "should be read by all 14 year olds".

Lyra's writing work inspired many and she had a 'promising' career ahead of her. Credit: Facebook

Describing the situation experienced by her and so many other young people, she says: "Life is so hard right now. Every day, you wake up wondering who else will find out your secret and hate you."

But she reassures herself.

"It won’t always be like this. It’s going to get better," she tells the troubled teenager worried she has told the wrong person she had a crush and soon everyone will know "her secret".

Lyra goes on to describe her courageous decision to tell her family about her sexuality.

In that moment "you will feel like a prisoner who has been given their freedom," she says.

She goes on to describe her guilt over coming out being so easy for her and so tough for her friends but she says "Life will not only get easier, it will get so much better".

She adds: "People will use words like “awesome” and “cool” and “witty” to describe you and you’ll forget the times the other kids said you were “weird” and “odd” and a “lesbo”."

The letter is addressed to Lyra, but the eloquent words offer advice to all children worried about their sexuality: 'Keep hanging on because it will be worth it'.

The journalist had reportedly just signed a two-book publishing deal. Credit: Facebook

It was clear Lyra was at the start of a glittering journalism career, with National Union of Journalists (NUJ) general secretary Michelle Stanistreet describing her as one of the most promising journalists in Northern Ireland.

She had recently signed a two-book deal with Faber and Faber publishing, who called her a "rising star of investigative journalism".

Paying tribute, long-time friend Ruth Edwards said: "She recognised no barriers to friendship except bigotry & badness.

"Her commitment & talent were about to bring her undreamt of success as a writer & she was in a loving relationship."

Read the full 'Letter To My 14 Year-Old Self' here.