Will’s story

I think there are a lot of negative stereotypes around dwarfism. People make Oompa Loompa jokes and it is not nice. I get a lot of Jackass comments as well. I feel like it is one of the most abused forms of disability, because it’s so visible, and because I feel people don’t take it seriously. People assume that because we’re smaller in size, we must also have smaller brains. I don’t understand where that assumption comes from when in fact, it couldn’t be further from the truth. We’re as capable as anyone.

I know people with dwarfism who are studying to be doctors and teachers. I’ve represented Great Britain at the last Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2020. Yet still, we’ll face strange and demeaning stereotypes every day about what we’re capable of. 

People assume I want help, but I just want to be independent. I am very outgoing and like to talk but sometimes I just want to get on with my life like any other person. Like when I’m shopping, sometimes people step in when you don’t want them to, they have good intentions and want to offer help, but they make assumptions. I don’t like people saying to me, ‘let me get that for you’ – instead, just ask me ‘would you like me to get that for you?’. 

I’ve been laughed at in public just going about my business and it’s the kind of thing that sticks with you. It feels like the world is just laughing at you, when I just want to feel normal and blend in. When using public changing rooms, and you are trying to change under the towel inconspicuously and sometimes people or kids will stare at me, it’s added stress. I once saw a pretty girl make an ‘ugh’ type of face at me so I did the face right back and I could tell it really flipped a switch in her head – people can dish it out but can’t take it back at them. 

I want to say to the public, if you hear someone being nasty, just step in and speak up. While I’m confident enough to stand up for myself, sometimes I have headphones on and haven’t heard what’s been said. Other times it’s just nice to know that even strangers have your back. Many voices are better than one so when you can, please speak up and call out this behaviour.

If people want to learn about dwarfism I am happy to answer serious questions but when someone is asking to turn me into a joke, that’s not nice.