To celebrate Dwarfism Awareness Month 2019, I’m sharing some of the photographs from the ‘You’re Just Little’ exhibition which debuted in 2018. The exhibition shows the challenges, obstacles and societal assumptions that Dwarf people face on a daily basis.
THE STORY BEHIND THE PHOTOGRAPH
In this photograph, you can see the backs of two passengers as I travel on a public transport system. I was returning from Newcastle on the Metro, possibly from a hospital appointment at the RVI, when I took this shot. This particular journey wasn’t too difficult, or packed. Yet I think it reflects aptly the claustrophobic nature of what it is like travelling as a Dwarf person.
Yes, bums and tums are the main views, however, travelling is a masterclass in planning and deft movement that even a cat burglar would be proud of, as a Dwarf person. Making sure that you can manoeuvre to the side railings in the carriage to hang onto while the train is moving because the railings above are too high to reach and you have nothing to hold onto otherwise, and once again, no one has offered you a seat or has recognised the difficulties you face.
Whether travelling by train, tube or bus, the considerations we have to think about relate mostly to personal safety and negative attention.
Think about it for a second, we stand at the same height or smaller than an average-height adult in a wheelchair. We are also at a high risk of being trampled on, pushed about and squashed in crowds, especially busy ones where people are in a rush to get to or from work.
Our personal safety is compromised daily on public transport. Planning and considering where and when would be best to travel, so we can minimise and avoid the risk of injury That’s if we can step up onto that bus or have the energy to walk to the station or bus stop in the first place.
Next though, and probably the most pressing issue we face is having to deal with other peoples reactions to our bodies and the negative attention it brings. Having to be extra vigilant to the stares, mirth, and on occasion, a sly camera phone. To be aware of how and where we can make a swift and safe getaway – poses a challenge to using public transport, and with it the chance to be independent, as a Dwarf person.
FOLLOW THE PHOTOGRAPH’S STORIES THROUGHOUT DWARFISM AWARENESS MONTH
Each day, I share an insight into the stories and the main themes that each of the photographs represents to help celebrate Dwarfism Awareness month.