Our community is making waves.
Change is beyond the horizon. It is here. We are creating a future for our children that truly embraces equality.
It started a few years ago when the YMCA [nationally] dropped its midget team-name. The division is still there, under a new title. In fact, they were so adamant about making this switch, that when the name is found unchanged at any of the YMCAs, it is changed immediately. I know that from firsthand experience- just asking brought change.
I found that can often be the case- just asking can make a huge difference… but it wasn’t always that way. It’s been years in the making. Years of community members, parents, family members, the LPA, and so many others surrounding our community reaching out… to board members, coaches, families. Our message has been passed on to the right people, but it seemed for years to be a Good Ol Boys Club, and there wasn’t much change…
But then it happened!
A friend of mine was alerted, through a contact, that Pop Warner [football] was making a change; in part because of her actions! This warrior, advocate mama has a child who wanted to sign up, and just seeing the word midget was enough to make her and her family cringe. So she asked for change.
She wasn’t the first one, but she was one. And she was heard. It takes one voice of many to be heard to make change. One voice in the right direction to make all of our advocacy work come to life. To create the future that we’ve been talking about. Working towards.
If you want something, you have to ask. …and sometimes ask often. A lesson I think parents know all-too-well.
My friend, who I’ll refer to as Rockstar Mama, asked… and it is such an honor and a blessing to say that Pop Warner football no longer has a midget division.
But there is more happening!
And quickly following that news, there was THIS announcement from USA Hockey! Midget, and all classifications are moving to age divisions. How much simpler and exact can a naming system get?
Change, folks. The dwarfism community is making change.
And lastly, more amazing news on the home front. You might have seen your favorite foods at the grocery store go from midget to mini. This is something I’ve been personally involved with. From contacting certain government sectors regarding farming, food growth, and food classification. And finally: there is change! Classifications are changing, as “a matter of decency”.
I am the crazy pickle lady after all, so I stand behind this food change with all of my heart. I know that just seeing the word has sent people in my grocery store aisles into giggle fits. Midget is an outdated word, and so we work to make the change. And now we get to see that change… and it’s amazing to be a part of!
At some point in my fight to educate people on the derogatory nature of the word “midget”, I was sure I didn’t have a leg to stand on. Change simply would not be possible. The internet trolls and “anti-PC police” were out there, but my lesson was this: caring for your fellow human isn’t politically correct. It’s humanity at its finest. It is an honor to be a part of the only species who can care for itself the way we do, and if we choose to not exercise that aspect of ourselves, shame. Shame on us for wasting that. Shame on us for not practicing what we preach to our children. And shame on us for seeing these written words and deciding that we know better.You don't get to offend, and then decide your words are not offensive. Click To Tweet
In truth, most people won’t even notice these changes. Midget will simply drop from their sports vernacular. They’ll see that their favorite smaller-than-average-foods are called mini. The word will simply drop from their vernacular and people will realize that when they are using midget, it’s not nice. I personally rarely meet anybody that just says the word midget to mean small- without a negative connotation or a joke attached.
It’s time as a culture that we acknowledge this acceptance we’ve created allowing disabled jokes to be passed around as innocent memes. There’s nothing innocent about choosing ignorance. It’s time that we admit we know better. It is time we do better.
And here we are doing better:
On the heels of the LPA National Conference beginning in Boston, a mere few miles from our home, I stand even prouder of our community then I was the day before. I will continue to be proud of our community as we push to make more changes. As we push to be seen as the equals we are. As we create the future we want for the next generations to come.
Do you love all this change? Don’t forget to share the word. Keep making that change. It starts with you.