Dwarfism Awareness Month - MetroFamily Magazine
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Dwarfism Awareness Month

by Tomi Mahoney

Reading Time: 2 minutes 

Dwarfism Awareness is this month, but for my family it is every month. We are continually fighting to be heard in our battle against stigmas. I have thought long and hard about how to raise awareness this month. In the past, my family and I have spoken in schools, posted on social media, and advocated for friends and family at the doctor’s office; but we still are fighting against the current of name calling and discrimination. 

The best thing for raising awareness is stating the facts. These need to be shouted from the rooftops and shared constantly. Therefore, this year, I want to share them, but also simplify them so that they are something that you can share with your children. 

I am a second-generation dwarf. My mom and dad are first, meaning both sets of my grandparents were average height. My parents’ types of dwarfism are due to genetic mutations. Most types of dwarfism are due to a genetic mutation, and there are over 400 types! Dwarfism is also classified for people who are 4’10” and under. 

Words are important when speaking of or about someone with dwarfism. Aren’t they with any person? Someone with dwarfism is a little person or a dwarf. We are not shorty, munchkin and especially not a midget. 

A midget is a small fly. You know, those disgusting insects that hang around the trash. That’s what a midget is. That’s not what people with dwarfism are. No person should be demoted to such a word to describe them! 

“Little people” is how we describe ourselves, not as “short people.” And when we refer to those who do not have dwarfism, we call them “average height.” The number of times that I have corrected a doctor saying “normal people” when they compared me to someone who is average height is appalling. What is normal? 

Little people are not intellectually challenged. We have college degrees and/or jobs. We are doctors, teachers, lawyers, actors, scientists and more! 

As I wrap up the facts on dwarfism, I want to end with one last bit. If you see a little person, remember we are people just like you, we have a height difference and nothing else. We are not scary, something to laugh at, and, most definitely, not something to take a picture of. We like to say “hi” and meet new people! 

As Billy Barty, the founder of Little People of America stated, “We are your brothers, your daughters, your friends. We happened to be wrapped in a smaller package.” So ask yourself, if that person you see was your family member or your best friend, how would you react to how they were being treated in that moment? 

This month is Dwarfism Awareness Month and on October 25th we celebrate it around the world. We wear green and we speak out against discrimination. My family and I invite you to wear green with us and be sure to tag #DwarfismAwareness in your posts on social media!

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at littlemum0312@gmail.com

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