According to a story from abc13.com, Washington state appears to be poised to become the third US state to ban dwarf tossing, a humiliating public spectacle used as entertainment in some bars and night clubs. Florida and New York are the other two states that currently have laws on the books that ban dwarf tossing. People with short stature are often subject to discrimination and trivialization in modern society, and the banning of dwarf tossing in Washington and hopefully eventually throughout the country will be a major step in helping people with short stature be treated with the dignity they deserve.
Dwarfism in humans is defined as an adult height of less than 4 feet 10 inches. This short height is usually the result of a genetic disorder. Some people with a clinically diagnosed condition that causes dwarfism may be taller than the 4 foot 10 inches. There are around 200 different medical conditions that can cause dwarfism. Achondroplasia is the most condition disorder that causes dwarfism. In this condition it is characterized by a longer trunk and shortened upper arms and legs. It affects anywhere from one in every 26,000 to one in every 40,000 people. Achondroplasia and many of the other most common causes of dwarfism are classified as skeletal dysplasias which cause bone to grow abnormally. Many potentially harmful symptoms may appear alongside dwarfism such as breathing issues, joint stiffness, arthritis, back pain, teeth crowding, and deformities such as clubbed feet or cleft palate. To learn more about dwarfism, click here.
Taking Action Against Discrimination
People with dwarfism have historically been subjected to unjust and harmful discrimination and ridicule in society. People with short stature have often be exploited for comedic purposes in media. Activities like dwarf tossing perpetuate discrimination and the dehumanization of people with dwarfism.
Representatives from the Little People of America visited the Washington State Capital to advocate for the ban, describing in clear terms the reality of trivialization and humiliation that dwarf tossing perpetuates in popular culture.
Thanks to discrimination, dwarfism is associated with serious societal disadvantages, such as reduced employment opportunities, social isolation, self-esteem issues, and severe bullying during childhood.
Hopefully this bill will be made into law in Washington and other states will soon follow suit.