Although the documentary was released in 2010, and has received rave critical reception (with a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes), Marwencol deserves more than passing notice.
Recently, the heartbreaking story of Evie, the transgender Indonesian woman who looked after a young Barack Obama emerged. Her story details a life of physical and verbal abuse due to who she is. It is a truly distressing portrait, and highlights a marginalized and oft ridiculed sexual identity.
The thing is, this contempt and ridicule is not isolated to Indonesia - not even close. It also holds firm roots in the United States.
Mark Hogancamp, while perhaps not technically transgender, was beaten nearly to death on April 8, 2000 by a group of five men, after admitting at a bar that he enjoyed wearing women’s clothing. He was left in a coma and suffered irreversible brain trauma, losing a large portion of his memory.
Marwencol, a fictional WWII era town that he built in his back yard at a one-sixth scale, is the therapy he turned to, and the results as well as his story are something that deserve notice.
These are just a few images from his website, which he continues to update to this day. Each comes with a fragment of story that Mark has written, which will be provided beneath the image in quotes.
“Deja Thoris is found by my tank crew and I. She fled town with all of Marwencol’s wealth in her handbag so that the Nazis couldn’t find it.”
“Jacqueline, Svetlana, and Anna head toward the Church to save me from the Nazis.”
“Me and two Russian woman stop along the Mulva after the first snow of the winter.”
“TC and I are sitting under our shelter made of bodies during the worst snowstorm in Belgian history.”
“All the Marwencol folks at Thanksgiving in the Catfight Club.”
“Scott Merry flicks the ignition switch to start up his repaired Spitfire.”
“My friends Ilaf and Rich helping me rescue Anna from the SS. They thought that in getting to my wife they could get to me. But Anna didn’t tell them a word.”
“In Marwencol all the Medics help out all the other Medics. It doesn’t matter what uniform they wear.”
“A lone German sailor drags his raft up on the west bank of the Mulva River, then prepares to find Marwencol.”