An Average Height parent of an LP recently posted that a restaurant in New York is advertising a dwarf tossing event. She thought it was completely disrespectful and that it “goes back to the whole idea of little people being used for entertainment purposes.” This mom of an infant LP son encouaged people to call into the restaurant and voice their opinion to the manager. Well, you would expect the dwarfism community to all be on the same side of the fence and be up in arms. Nope! We all have a different opinion on our role in the world just as we differ on politics and religion.
After watching the thread continue on with this conversation of “I want to be tossed like a salad” and “Government shouldn’t be my mommy to tell me what I can and can’t do”, I had to post about the big picture. Dwarfs outside the US and developed countries have a greater responsibility, which is to be treated with dignity so that other countries will follow. A friend of mine posted this article and is very active in the movement to stop human trafficking. Someone posted on that thread about how dwarf tossing can be a form of human trafficking. I think that is a very valid point and one thing to consider when thinking that possibly LPs “choose” to participate in dwarf tossing. Who’s to say that dwarf tossing in other countries outside the US isn’t a choice of an individual?
We should not condone dwarf tossing in the US, as much as we do not condone human trafficking. According to this article:
As the sexual attractiveness or labor power of victims are the object of exploitation, there are very few individuals with disabilities among victims. However, a study of children trafficked into circuses found a significantly high number of children with dwarfism. Said to be shunned socially in Nepal and India, these individuals are in high demand by traffickers to be exploited as clowns in circuses. Begging is another sector of exploitation where disability is in demand to generate sympathy among onlookers. Physically challenged minors are trafficked from Southeastern Europe to beg in the streets of Greece and Italy.
Another adult LP mentioned that she thinks the US has gone crazy with regulations. She stated LPs know what they’re getting themselves into and that it’s their freedom to do as they please. The fact is that most LPs do not know how to care for themselves as far as what their health guidelines are according to their type of dwarfism. They do not know the signals or dangers regarding certain types of activity (instability of the C-Spine, hydrocephalus, sleep apnea, etc.). Most LPs don’t even know who to see if they have health issues. And they fight the insurance companies to get their medical needs covered. MANY LPs do not have good healthcare both financially and geographically and have health issues that may worsen through their lives. And the majority of the average height community does not understand what harm they can do to people with dwarfism. Pseudos have joint issues that are unlike achons. Achons have spinal compression issues that are not like SEDc/SED. People with primordial dwarfism have pulmonary issues that are not like achons, etc. We’re not just simply short people. The LP adult went on to say to be careful about government making decisions for us. Hmmm. Ok, let’s release the ban on smoking in restaurants. After all, smokers have their rights, right? And the non-smokers can find themselves outside. And who’s to say that cancer is caused by second hand smoke? Right? If people with dwarfism continue taking on these roles and positions which require no skill but to be a human bean bag, then how are we to move forward as a people and be taken seriously? In 20 years, I’d like to see us in positions that require talent (acting serious major roles or building cars of the future) and intelligence where dwarfism becomes the thing that people don’t consider a difference, much like people of color. But, if in America, we continue with this, then other LPs from different countries cannot move forward. Either that or much like our education system in the US, our social issues will be left in the dust behind other countries.
I’m not going to convince any of you who “don’t want to be told by the government not to be able to be tossed”. But, I hope to educate the public that WE as the dwarfism community should be treated with respect and dignity.