This Man's Criticism of Caitlyn Jenner Proves Why to Be Careful Online

June 5th 2015

Laura Donovan

Caitlyn Jenner's worldwide debut on Vanity Fair's July 2015 issue sparked lots of debate on the Internet this week. While many responded with praise and support, there was inevitably some backlash. One man, however, learned the hard way not to be so quick with his criticism. 

On the day Jenner's magazine spread started trending on social media, Facebook user Terry Coffey posted this status on his personal page, insinuating that American troops seem to know more about bravery than Jenner:

The post went viral on Facebook, and the large Facebook group titled "Boycott A&E Until Phil Robertson Is Put Back On Duck Dynasty" gave it a boost by posting it on their page as well. 

Coffey, however, learned shortly after publishing his initial post that the photo has a complicated back story. For starters, the image is not of two military men, but dolls photographed by a man named Mark Hogancamp, who was nearly beaten to death for being a cross-dresser 15 years ago. To cope with the memory-erasing brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder that resulted from the attack, Hogancamp created Marwencol, a miniature world with dolls, Barbies, and another version of himself in the form of an action figure. 

“I needed a way to work things out, for me,” Hogancamp, whose project inspired a documentary called Marwencol, told The New York Times last month. 

Nevertheless, Coffey was moved by Hogancamp's story and feels lucky that he had the opportunity to learn about it, albeit in an unusual way:

In the Facebook comment area for the second post, Coffey wrote, "Someone who is friends with the filmmakers and the man who I was talking about in this post, has written me and thanked me for this follow-up post. She is going to be sharing it with the filmmakers. Makes me know I did the right thing in posting this as well."