A Caitlyn Jenner critic changed his mind after learning the surprising truth about this photo.

A Caitlyn Jenner critic changed his mind after learning the surprising truth about this photo.

After railing against Jenner in a Facebook post, this man changed his perspective when he discovered the source of a photo he used.

As I see post after post about Bruce Jenner's transition to a woman, and I hear words like, bravery, heroism, and...

Posted by Terry Coffey on Monday, June 1, 2015

You may have seen this post circulating around the Internet the past few days. What made this post spread was not the message, but the ironic choice of photo. The image used by Facebook user Terry Coffey is not a real war photograph, but a realistically composed shot of two toy soldiers built by Mark Hogencamp, a man who was nearly beaten to death for cross-dressing.

A Caitlyn Jenner critic changed his mind after learning the surprising truth about this photo.

Without the bullshit filters, you can see these are well crafted miniatures. (via Buzzfeed)

Hogencamp was profiled in the New York Times in 2011, detailing the horrifying story about how he was nearly beaten to death by five men outside of a bar in 2000. After Hogencamp recovered consciousness and returned home, he was surprised to find a closet full of women's clothing. Suffering from amnesia, he learned that he was a cross-dresser. In fact, the attack on Hogencamp began after he told the group he was a cross-dresser.

Hogencamp cleared his head by creating a miniature World War II scene in his backyard he called "Marwencol." There is a documentary about Hogencamp, his recovery, and creation also titled Marwencol, produced in 2010.


Apparently, the word got around to Terry Coffey about the source of his photo, enough that he went to investigate for himself. Terry was moved by Hogencamp's story to the point of reconsidering his original protest against Caitlyn Jenner. Terry wrote a follow up post to his original outrage:

The photo that accompanied my words yesterday to highlight "true bravery," was chosen from a quick image search. Just wanted something to fit my words. This afternoon, I wanted to find out who the photographer was, so I could credit his work.
In an ironic twist, I have discovered that the photo is part of a documentary created by a man who was beaten nearly to death outside of a bar in 2000.
After spending 9 days in a coma, suffering severe brain damage and being unable to walk or talk for a year, he chose to deal with the pain of the tragic event, by creating an imaginary world of characters and photos and stories, all set in WWII. His work is the subject of an upcoming documentary.
Why was he nearly beaten to death by 5 strangers?
Because he was a cross-dresser.
I could have chosen any one of hundreds of photos depicting bravery, but I chose this one. Do I think it was an accident?
No, I don't.
What happened to this man was cruel, wrong, and unforgivable.
Hate helps nothing
Love wounds no one
and God heals all.
(and irony makes you think)

Coffey's change in perspective is a refreshingly positive end to what began as a declaration of rage, and a good reminder that irony can be a great teacher.