The story of a Philadelphia man who allegedly committed suicide after defending his relationship with a male-to-female transgender has gone global. 20-year-old Maurice "Reese Him Daddie" Willoughby reportedly took his own life after he was dumped by his MtF transgender lover named Faith.
Willoughby's friends say he killed himself after he was bullied in a Facebook video for defending his relationship with Faith.
But the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, a national organization that advocates on behalf of black transgender people, posted on Facebook Thursday:
"Faith went on Instagram Live to clarify that Reese's suicide occurred through an overdose after she left him. A heavy drug user, Reese threatened to take his life and Faith's. She ran away to safety, and it was then that he committed suicide."
News media outlets in the U.S. and Europe picked up his tragic story this week.
It isn't clear who uploaded the Facebook video that shows Willoughby being harassed by a group of men and at least one woman on a Philadelphia street. "He suck d--k!" one man shouts repeatedly.
The hashtag #RIPreese went viral on social media on Tuesday, prompting an outpouring of support for Willoughby from prominent voices in the LGBTQ community, including MtF trans actors Amiyah Scott ('Star') and Laverne Cox, as well as politicians including Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke, who tweeted: "No one should lose their life because of who they are or who they love."
When a man is confident & secure enough to openly love a trans woman; this is the bullying and harassment he gets. When trans attracted men kill us; it’s out of fear that this will happen to them if they are outed. Reese didn’t kill his girlfriend; he killed himself instead. #RIP pic.twitter.com/P4el3duZGZ
— Ashlee Marie Preston (@AshleeMPreston) August 20, 2019
MtF trans @AshleeMPreston tweeted:
"When a man is confident & secure enough to openly love a trans woman; this is the bullying and harassment he gets. When trans attracted men kill us; it’s out of fear that this will happen to them if they are outed. Reese didn’t kill his girlfriend; he killed himself instead. #RIP".
And Amiyah Scott, a 31-year-old MtF transgender actor, tweeted a plea to end the stigma of transgenders dating heterosexual men.
"Loving a transgender woman is not wrong and I really wish we could break that stigma," Scott tweeted on Monday, Aug. 19.
The details of Willoughby's death were finally cleared up, as rampant speculation and rumors spread via social media. Friends say Willoughby took his life by swallowing a handful of pills after he was bullied relentlessly.
Willoughby reportedly had a history of mental illness including depression and bipolar disorder. He tattooed his friend Faith's first and last names on his face.
On July 18 - a day before he died - Willoughby went live on Facebook to defend his relationship with Faith.
"I don't care if she wasn't born a woman she is a woman to me & I love her flaws that's what makes her faith if you heard her story it's motivating."
After Willoughby's suicide, trans activists on Twitter pleaded with parents to teach their sons that loving a transgender is not wrong or abnormal. But the opposition remains as strong as ever.
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