Malik Yoba is “coming out” as a straight man who is attracted to women — and that he doesn’t differentiate between cisgender and transgender women.
In an Instagram post, the actor — who you will recognize from his long stints on New York Undercover, Empire and some of your favorite Tyler Perry movies — shares his thoughts about love and attraction, dispelling a number of myths and biases in the process.
"I love ALL women AND count MYSELF among those that find themselves trans attracted and I too have felt the self imposed shame that comes with that truth but it’s time to speak up," he captioned under a video of men bullying a man who said he has sex with trans women. "It is NOT about GENITALIA OR SEX but about attraction to the soul and humanity of an individual."
That man is Maurice “Reese” Willoughby, a 20-year-old who recently killed himself via a drug overdose after his girlfriend left him. Yoba shared his story to begin his IG message.
“ATTENTION BLACK AND ALL MEN!!! THIS IS NOT OK!!!!! This video is another heartbreaking example of the homophobia, transphobia hatred and hypocrisy WE as black folks, BLACK MEN in particular have to NAME , FACE and CALL OUT and do the work to heal!!!”
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ATTENTION BLACK AND ALL MEN!!! THIS IS NOT OK!!!!! This video is another heartbreaking example of the homophobia, transphobia hatred and hypocrisy WE as black folks, BLACK MEN in particular have to NAME , FACE and CALL OUT and do the work to heal!!! THIS IS EXACTLY WHY I WILL BE AT @transmarchondc 🏳️🌈hosting a workshop called LOVE + TRAUMA: The Trans Experience on Sept 27 2019 ( details TBD ) His name was Maurice “Reese” Willoughby, a 20 yr old baby who killed himself from an apparent drug overdose after his girlfriend left him due to abuse. Clearly as evidenced in this video this young man was confident in his choice to love who he loved but the uninformed young men around him haven’t been taught BY US that love is love and acceptance of Trans love is ok and bullying has nothing to do with masculinity or HETEROSEXUAL behavior. Ultimately his mental and emotional health was not intact enough and the fragility of his life as he saw it was too much to bear. Often times this type of shame and ridicule can lead to the murders of women of the trans experience . NOT OK!! Clearly he didn’t get the support of his peers who think that toxicity = masculinity and humanity. That being a “real man” means we must disrespect and demean those that FIND themselves attracted to women of the trans experience. The fact that he was trans attracted presumably meant that he had no safe space to go to find the support he needed to learn to navigate love of a woman of the trans experience in a world that constantly tells you you’re wrong. TRANS PEOPLE DESERVE LOVE AND RESPECT AS DO THOSE OF US THAT LOVE THEM!! I love ALL women AND count MYSELF among those that find themselves trans attracted and I too have felt the self imposed shame that comes with that truth but it’s time to speak up. It is NOT about GENITALIA OR SEX but about attraction to the soul and humanity of an individual and often the beauty that is in the courage and conviction to live ones truth! As a self identified cis heterosexual man I too am learning what it means to be trans attracted. Many of us famous and otherwise that have struggled with accepting our attraction so we do NOTHING. This MUST change 🙏🏾
Many are applauding Malik Yoba for bringing attention to an issue that has led to harassment and even death of trans women and the men who love them.
Dear King @MalikYoba , thank you so much for having the courage and strength to speak your truth and so many other BLACK men's truth with their attraction to trans women and the struggles you all have to deal with ❤— Drug Lord Griselda (@TheeGeeMarie) September 1, 2019
Shoutout to @MalikYoba for putting it out there that he’s attracted to trans women. Much respect, I know that has to be hard.— TEE FRANKLIN 🔜 CINCINNATI EXPO (@MizTeeFranklin) September 1, 2019
He’s not alone tho, trans women are so damn beautiful. 😍😍😍 pic.twitter.com/ZarD9QihUu
I freakin knew @malikyoba was the ultimate supporter but damn i was always a fan f his acting anyway but the stand he taking now means so much more thank you #malikyoba for speaking out in support of our trans women. https://t.co/lYAbPudGDj— BallVoyeurs (@BallVoyeurs) September 1, 2019
Someone needs to do an article on what Malik Yoba just said. It’s a long time coming and SO MANY high profile men are attracted to trans women just like any other kind of woman. We need to get rid of the shame associated with loving us. It’s time to SPEAK UP. Lives are at stake— Trace Lysette (@tracelysette) August 26, 2019
Malik Yoba out here showing yall what healthy masculinity and compassion looks like. https://t.co/tGvX4KffID— 🤠Bebop Serenity🚀 (@IdesOfHaven) August 31, 2019
We applaud Malik for being a true ally and speaking facts that many still need to hear.
Photo: Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for Roadside Attractions