Maurice Willoughby, aka “Reese Him Daddie,” died shortly after he endured extensive bullying for dating a trans woman. In a statement on Wednesday, the Marsha P. Johnson Institute reported that Reese died by suicide shortly after his girlfriend left him.
The Institute’s statement reads, “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.”
Reese’s story and relationship went viral when he wrote a Facebook post defending his girlfriend, Faith. Then, a video began to circulate the internet in which random individuals appear to be aggressively bullying Reese over his decision to be in a relationship with a trans person.
According to The Advocate, Reese was a 20-year-old living in Philadelphia at the time of his death. He also appeared to be an aspiring rapper, according to his Instagram. The bio reads, “Your Rappers Favorite Rapper.”
Reese’s girlfriend has since posted a tribute to him, in a lengthy Instagram post which reads in full:
No matter wat ☝?I know everything bae @reesehimdaddieand I’m goin make sure your story is told and the right way fuck 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 !
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 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 ? 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 HIM BEING BULLIED AND I HAVE ALL THE PROOF AND AGAIN “HIS” STORY WILL BE HEARD NOT YALL MADE UP SHIT ! I STILL HAVE HIS MESSAGES AND VOICEMAILS CAUSE WE TALKED ALWAY UP UNTIL I RAN TO NEW YORK TO WAIT FOR OUR COURT DAT ON THE 20th of this month and he though in his mind no matter wat I said he thought I wasnt comin back wat was I suppose to do I know he was goin to take both of us cause he said thats how much he loved me but I knew it was the pills talkin not him I MEAN COME ON HE HAD MY GOVERNMENT TATTED ACROSS HIS FOREHEAD ?
Here’s what you need to know:
Watch: Group Ruthlessly Bullies Reese Over His Personal Relationship
In a Facebook post in July, Reese defended his relationship and his right to love whomever he pleases. He wrote in part,
“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.”
Then the video of Reese’s bullying began to gain traction online, and friends of Reese have since said, via The Advocate, that the bullying got to Reese. One friend, Amethyst Jade Lee, said per the publication, “That was my friend and everyone who took part in bulling him need to be in jail.”
Yves Mathieu, an activist model and artist, shared a photo of Reese and his girlfriend, Faith, in a heartfelt Instagram post. The influencer wrote,
No matter how shitty the times are in which we live, sometimes you find something out and you’re just like, how could this happen? how could we let this happen? The couple in this photo is beautiful Reese and his girlfriend Faith. Reese was a black cisgender male, his girlfriend, Faith, is a black transgender woman.
Over the weekend Reese killed himself after the relentless taunting, bullying, mocking and disrespect he received after publicly proclaiming his love for his girl, and you know what breaks me about this? Is that when it comes to discussing the weight of transphobia and homophobia in the black community, especially amongst those who should speak up on it, all you hear is crickets?
It’s no secret that every community has its issues no matter how beautiful the painted picture is, but damn we oppressed people are still out here oppressing our own people? don’t say black lives matter if that bracket doesn’t include black trans people and mental health in the black community, Reese fucking DM’d ME, and when I responded I never got a response back, this is garbage, and this hurts, Reese I’m so sorry, Faith, I’m so sorry, I lové you, I lové ya’ll, we lové you, we lové ya’ll.
This is so trash, and I hate everything about this. IGNORANCE , HATRED AND TOXIC MASCULINITY KILLED OUR BROTHER. Rest in all power family, a lot of our sisters are up there with you.
One close friend said to Aazios, “He was getting picked on and joked on all the time. 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.”
In the days following Reese’s death, many have mourned his loss, using the hashtag #RIPReese to pay their condolences.
Ashlee Marie Preston 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”
Janet Mock tweeted, “My heart breaks for Reese, for his girlfriend, and their loved ones. These men screaming at him are beyond fragile, standing on a shaky altar of masculinity, too insecure to do what Reese did: Unapologetically love a woman who everyone says is unworthy of love.”
Reese Defended the Trans Community on Several Occasions in the Months Leading up to His Death
In addition to the statement he made about his own girlfriend, Faith, Reese also appeared to defend the trans community at large in a Facebook comment in which he responded to a photo of a trans woman — originally captioned “3 Words????” — by writing, “Living her Truth ❤️.”
In his cover photo, Reese appears to be responding to judgement from others, with a selfie and a caption that reads, “These [n-words] think I’m gay well that’s okay.”
Now Reese’s social media pages have been flooded with tributes, with many promising to make sure that his story was heard. One friend wrote, “R.I.P bro, your story will be told.”
If you are or know of an LGBTQ person who is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, the Trevor Lifeline has trained counselors ready to speak 24 hours a day, at 866-488-7386.