Image source: Aazios video screenshot
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'He was dealing with a lot.'
A man who went viral after addressing how he'd been bullied for his relationship with a transgender woman is dead.
Many outlets are reporting that 20-year-old Maurice Willoughby of Philadelphia reportedly committed suicide on Sunday because of bullying, but his former girlfriend is speaking out to correct the narrative.
What are the details?
Willoughby — who also went by the name "Reese" — went viral after defending his relationship with transgender girlfriend, Faith Palmer.
Willoughby was confronted on the streets of Philadelphia by fellow residents who appeared to take issue with his relationship with Palmer.
The video went viral, and so Willoughby took to Facebook to defend his relationship further.
"Y'all can say whatever about faith I really don't care if she not passable 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..... I'm happy you should be happy for me," he wrote.
(Content warning: Rough language):[ia_video https://s3.amazonaws.com/roar-assets-auto.rbl.ms/runner%2F13806-reece_0.mp4 source="https://s3.amazonaws.com/roar-assets-auto.rbl.ms/runner%2F13806-reece_0.mp4" autoplay=true attribution="aazios.com" feedbacks=true shortcode_id=1566500419549 expand=1 ]
So what is the girlfriend saying?
Palmer shared an update on her Facebook page revealing her hurt over Willoughby's death and to clear the air.
"No matter wat [sic] I know everything bae Reese Him Daddie and I'm goin make sure your story is told and the right way f*** da clout chasing cause it happened just as you said nobody was goin to hear you or us for that matter until it got to level 10 you was my everything until those pills took total control and took you away!" she wrote.
"All he wanted was for us to win as we battled all his mental demons but I got left being the only one tryin to get help cause he gave up hope as my friends and family and his grandma tried to help and keep me alive while I tried to save him before this point," she continued. "He wasnt scared of anyone so he fought back for us ! He wanted to tell his story thru his music and now I gotta tell it[.]"
She continued, "Bae you will never die to me and I always keep my promise ! We loved each other to death we fought people together its deeper them [sic] him being bullied and I have all the proof and again 'his' story will be heard not yall made up s**t!"
In an Instagram post, the Marsha P. Johnson Institute revealed that Palmer had broken up with Willoughby before his death, and pointed out that he'd threatened to kill both Palmer and himself.
According to the Institute, which is reportedly the first of its kind to advocate specifically for black trans women, Willoughby was only able to take his own life, as Palmer had run off to safety after his alleged threats to kill her as well.
The post was captioned:
Yesterday news broke that a cisgender man named Reese took his life after being ridiculed for loving his trans girlfriend Faith Palmer. Several outlets and media figures have framed this as an instance of a cisgender man bullied to take his own life. Reese's suicide is not the time to discuss cis men who date trans women. Faith went on Instagram Live to clarify that Reese actually died of 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. Our deepest condolences to Faith and also to Reese's family. This is a time to mourn for a lost life and support Faith during this difficult time in her life. She is a survivor of abuse and as stated on her Instagram page, a woman who lost her lover. Black women are always mourning and caring for the world while trying to keep ourselves alive. Our love and support to Faith.
Friends of Willoughby said that he slipped into a depression after the video went viral.
Aazios, where the news of Willoughby's death first appeared, reported that a friend told the outlet that the judgment over his relationship with a trans woman weighed heavily on him.
"He was getting picked on and joked on all the time," the unidentified friend said. "Where we are from, if you like trans woman, and you black, the streets will talk about you, fight you, even try to kill you."
"He was dealing with a lot," the source said.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the investigation into Willoughby's death is still pending, according to the city Department of Public Health.
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