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Statement of LPA regarding proposed legislation
Due to its strong implications to the dwarf community and to the individual, Little People of America strongly opposes Florida House Bill 4063, which repeals a statewide ban on dwarf tossing. The bill was introduced on Monday, October 3, 2011.
Dwarf tossing, banned in Florida in 1989, is undoubtedly unsafe and subjects the individual being tossed to serious medical harms. Even with padded gear on, dwarf tossing exposes the individual to permanent injuries to the spinal column or even death.
While dwarf tossing is an extreme risk to the individual, it also objectifies the entire dwarf community. “The individual who is tossed is like a shot put or a javelin thrown in a track and field event,” said Gary Arnold, President of Little People of America. “Far from participants, dwarf tossing treats people of short stature as a piece of equipment and encourages the general attitude that people with dwarfism are objects.”
Historically, members of the dwarf community, who were not involved in dwarf tossing, were put at risk because of the message of objectification sent by dwarf tossing. Members of the dwarfism community reported being fearful while alone in public due to the new risk of being picked up or threatened to be used as a piece of equipment. “In 1989, when Florida passed the ban on dwarf tossing, it responded to the outrage and concerns of the dwarf community and our allies,” said Leah Smith, Vice President of Public Relations for Little People of America. “Rather than limit the liberties of any citizen, the ban protects the health and welfare of the community.”
With more than 70 Chapters around the United States, including in Florida, Little People of America plans to organize against the repeal legislation. “In a day and age when society is confronting bullying,” continued Smith, “it is a shame that this bill takes us backwards. It enables bullying.”
About Little People of America
LPA is a non-profit organization dedicated to advocacy and support for individuals with dwarfism. LPA strives to enhance the lives of its members and their families by providing services and programs that meet their needs. LPA provides information and support to individuals whose short stature is generally caused by one of the more than 200 diagnosis known as dwarfism.