In some truly tragic news, a man from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has taken his own life this week. Reese Willoughby was in love with, and dating, a trans woman named Faith and was open about his relationship online. But, because people are trash, Reese was immediately subjected to a lot of online abuse for his open-mindedness - he was even verbally harassed in the street.
Unable to withstand the societal pressure and horrific bullying, Reese ended up taking his own life to escape the hatred. The internet has come out in support of both Reese and his girlfriend, Faith - but it seems like we have a long way to go in terms of understanding and respect.
Falling in love is truly a magical thing.In the past, relationships were far more set in stone than they are today. But if you thought that the world was accepting, this story proves that we have a long way to go.
In many ways, we've come pretty far.But, sometimes, a story will remind us that, even though we put up the facade of acceptance, violence against those who are different still runs rife in many communities.
This tragedy takes place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.It involves one heartbreakingly young, twenty-year-old man, for whom the prejudices, hatred, and violence of the world became too much to deal with.
This is Reese Willoughby with girlfriend, Faith.
via: TwitterFaith is a black trans-woman - arguably the most marginalized group in society. But Reese loved her anyway, and proudly showed off his girlfriend in a now-deleted Facebook live.
Reese was proud of his relationship...
via: FacebookNo matter how controversial some people saw it to be, he bravely told the world about his feelings and even shared adorable images of the couple. Reese also had Faith's name tattooed on his forehead.
But not everyone was so loving.In fact, after opening up about his relationship, Reese faced a lot of abuse, both online and off. Some of the horrific bullying was even recorded and posted.
And the amount of abuse that Reese faced became too much.
These sorts of tragedies are nothing new in the trans community.
The life expectancy of trans women of color is 35.— I.M (@I.M)1562797752.0
There's speculation as to why this is.
Transgender WOC have a life expectancy of about 30. 30 damn it! PROTECT BLACK TRANS WOMEN https://t.co/9YWz5VJoeP— sapphyre 🪴 (@sapphyre 🪴)1558377944.0
And many believe that Reese's death is adjacent to this phenomenon.
When a man is confident & secure enough to openly love a trans woman; this is the bullying and harassment he gets.… https://t.co/g2le4rOGPo— Ashlee Marie Preston (@Ashlee Marie Preston)1566326698.0
The video shows just one incident of many.
My heart breaks for Reese, for his girlfriend, and their loved ones. These men screaming at him are beyond fragile,… https://t.co/IqKTq9AdpZ— Janet Mock (@Janet Mock)1566350062.0
The fact that Reese wasn't ashamed of his relationship was incredible.But, unfortunately, it's ultimately the reason that he took his own life, too. The pernicious stigmas surrounding dating trans women need to end before more lives are ruined.
And while it's unlikely that the bullying was Reese's only issue...
My condolences to Marcus "Reese" Willoughby of Philadelphia,PA. It is reported he committed suicide for being bulli… https://t.co/PjT7k2SHo9— TS Candii (@TS Candii)1566307037.0
In some ways, cis men who date trans women put themselves in the danger that trans women face every day.
Cisgendered men are being bullied, and in some cases committing suicide, because they love Trans women. The world n… https://t.co/MVmcQAsVda— Steven Canals (@Steven Canals)1566354303.0
While this is clearly a tragedy for Reese, it goes deeper.
black trans women fucking matter. they deserve to feel beautiful and loved in public; their partners should be able… https://t.co/xKO6PM9pzb— shawty nature 🌿🌻 (@shawty nature 🌿🌻)1566347379.0
Many have offered words of condolence.
via: Getty ImagesBut among the most famous was model, activist, and all-around superstar, Munroe Bergdorf. Herself a trans woman of color, she took to Instagram to share a heartbreaking tribute.