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Dwarf rights under attack yet again after hate crime allegations

An English pub in Spain is being investigated for what many are calling “hate crimes” after the watering hole advertised “midget strippers for hire.”

Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal QC

To start off, I’d like to make sure I use the proper terminology to address what were formerly called “midgets.” The terms “dwarf”, “little person”, “LP”, and “person of short stature” are now generally considered acceptable by most people affected by these disorders. I will be using dwarf, as I think it’s the cutest.

An English pub in Spain is being investigated for what many are calling “hate crimes” after the watering hole advertised “midget strippers for hire.”

The Spanish Committee of Representatives of Persons with Disabilities (CERMI) claims that the pub was offering customers the opportunity to rent dwarves, and have thus launched a case against Chaplin’s Bar in Benidorm.

A poster for the show titled “The Midget,” a term that has become out of date for people with dwarfism, shows performers dressed up as different cultural icons, such as Charlie Chaplin, a luchador, and even Borat.

Tourists say Chaplin’s is known for its live dwarf strip shows, shows that CERMI argues are demeaning.

A spokesperson for CERMI, Jesus Martin, says he believes the offer contravenes the UN’s Convention on the Rights of a Persons with Disabilities.

“Dwarfism is a disability that it is still mocked, and practices like this make the stigma and stereotypes worse,” says Martin.

Critics have also slammed the pub for a sign outside which says: “Wanna rent a midget? Ask at the bar for details or message Facebook.”

This is definitely not the first time an issue of such nature has made the news. Similar circumstances have occurred in a number of countries, with Canada being no exception.

Being from Windsor, Ontario, I am frequently fighting the feeling of embarrassment that arises whenever the Rose City makes international headlines. Notable examples of silly stories from Windsor include the Windsor Penis Bush, the high school basketball player that ended up being a 30-year-old Sudanese refugee, and lastly, the 2016 dwarf tossing competition.

This was the second time that Leopard’s Lounge has played host to this sport. When it did so in 2003, it raised the ire of a local MPP, Sandra Pupatello, who unsuccessfully sponsored a bill to outlaw it.

Though the other two may have spent some time on the newsreels, midget tossing caught national interest, most likely due to the varying perspectives on the matter. Like our friends at CERMI, many were pointing out the inappropriate nature of throwing around midgets at a strip club, solely for entertainment purposes. But others, including myself, thought nothing much of it.

The event drew national attention from the likes of CBC, CTV, and the Globe and Mail, who stated that “Windsor is now either a bastion of libertarian resistance to the nanny state or a miserable backwater of moronic culture.”

But why does it have to be one or the other? Why can’t we take the stance that Dwarf Tossing is a silly and entertaining bar sport, and Dwarfs have the right to make that decision for themselves? Are we going to ignore the fact that dwarfs are real-life people, that have free will and can make decisions for themselves? Are there really people out there that will fight tooth and nail for events of such a nature to be illegal? Are we really going to start limiting the choices that able-minded people can make? Alright, have it your way, where do we draw the line?

Can we toss around able-bodied people? What if they’re just really short, and not dwarfs? And hey, what if there are dwarfs that actually want to get thrown around? (Which by the way, there are.)

Mighty Mike Murga, a professional dwarf-tossee, has been participating in the event for nearly two decades, and trains “both mentally and physically” for the events.

“I’ve been training 17 years, and you gotta have a strong physique,” said Murga in an interview at Leopard’s Lounge in Windsor.

“I get to travel to 24 countries doing this, have toured with Britney Spears, Motley Crue, worked a year for T-Pain, Lil Wayne, Flo Rida, Chris Brown, so I’m with heavy duty people. … In a night, we do average 50-60 tosses.”

Should dwarfs be denied the right to entertain? The decision is theirs to make. Someone like Mighty Mike Murga would argue that this is his decision, and it’s nobody else’s business but his. I’d agree with that.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

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