Eugene*Grant Profile picture
Apr 8, 2018 14 tweets 6 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Thread: I have #dwarfism.

I knew who the Seven #Dwarfs were by the age of ten.

I knew who Mini Me was by 13. 

I was 31 when I learned who Benjamin Lay was. 

This is important. Please read and RT. 

Born in England 1682, Benjamin Lay was among the first known radical abolitionists. 

He was fearless, compassionate, and principled. 

He was also a #dwarf

A "living stick of dynamite", Benjamin Lay was "one of the very first to call for the abolition of slavery".

He wrote one of the world's first abolitionist books - calling for the church to cast out slave owners.

His time as a sailor and living in Barbados left him with a hatred of #slavery and slave owners.

He'd later become known for shocking and theatrical protests at Quaker meetings. 

Lay & his wife Sarah, also a #dwarf, were Quakers.

The Quakers opposed Lay's abolitionist views. 

They disowned Lay, denounced his book, denied his right to speak at meetings, and even withheld his marriage certificate. 

An autodidact, Lay vehemently criticised Quakers who owned slaves, loudly and spectacularly disrupted Quaker meetings, and boycotted slave-produced commodities.  

Not much taller than 4'0", life in a #dwarf body shaped Lay's abolitionist beliefs.

As a dwarf, he had to struggle to be taken seriously and considered equal.

Even in death, some historians dismissed Lay as a "little hunchback".

As a #dwarf person, Lay had to have cutting repartee.

A man once mocked him, announcing "I am your servant" to Lay... 

...who stuck out his foot and replied "Then clean my shoe" - embarrassing the bully. 

His humility is attributed to his poor background, but also his life as a #dwarf person.

Lay said "I know my self to be so very mean & contemptible in the sight of Men, almost in every respect".

Benjamin Lay was a #vegetarian, an animal rights activist, & held anti-consumption views.

He lived in a cave, grew his food, & tailored his clothes.

A philanthropist, he donated to the construction of a local hospital. 

He died in 1759.

A devoted #Quaker, his abolitionist views meant he lies in an unmarked grave, buried as "a stranger to the faith he loved".

He left money to poor Quakers - more than 50% of whom were women - and to the school at one of the meetings that disowned him.

Benjamin Lay "confronted power fearlessly".

He paved the way for other Quaker abolitionists.

(Source for 1-12: Marcus Rediker: The Fearless Benjamin Lay")

#dwarfism #disability #dwarf

Why haven't you heard of Lay? Rediker points out some historians have written off because he was a #dwarf person - dismissing him as a "little hunchback". 

When I have kids I'm going to tell them stories about Benjamin Lay. 

They will know his name and deeds long before they hear of the names of those who have fuelled the stereotypes about us. 

#dwarfism #disability #dwarf 


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More from @MrEugeneGrant

Aug 10, 2018
Thread: Just finished this beautiful book in which the protagonist is a strong, powerful woman with #dwarfism - Trudi - living in Germany before, through, and after WW2.

This is the first piece of adult non-fantasy fiction I've read with a #dwarf main character.

A dwarf person in an average height town, Trudi is, in a way, an outsider, and yet central to the community, too.

As a child, she yearns to be average height - she asks the doctor for pills to make her tall, she hangs by her arms from doorways trying to stretch her body.

Children shy away from Trudi as if touching her might turn them into #dwarf people, too.

Adults act as if she is invisible and they say things they wouldn't say if other children were around. For Trudi, this is the beginning of something key...

Read 18 tweets
Jul 24, 2018

Thread: Some advice for parents when your small child sees someone with #dwarfism for the first time.

Please read, RT, and, if you yourself are a #dwarf or #disabled person,​add your own ​advice.


I can imagine you feel embarrassed right now…

...but what you do next helps set the foundations on which your child will build their understanding of #dwarfism, #disability, and difference.

The first thing to say is: don't ever encourage your child to point and laugh at people who are different. Ever.

That might ​seem​ obvious, but I've encountered parents who’ve done so - and even filmed me, too.

But these are a tiny minority, so let's move on...

Read 14 tweets
Jul 8, 2018
Thread: Heard of the Seven Dwarfs? Mini-Me? Tyrion?

Cool. Pull up a seat.

Let me tell you about Jeffrey Hudson - a real #dwarf person whose incredible life featured Kings and Queens, pirates and prisoners, soldiers and slaves.

He once shot a man dead for mocking him.

Hudson was born in England in 1619 to poor average height parents.

Not long after, the Duke of Buckingham moved nearby.

When he was 7, the Duchess of Buckingham asked his father to permit Jeffery to live with her.

The Duke 'gave' Jeffrey (you read that right) in **a pie** (you read that right, too) to Queen Henrietta Maria.

If that sounds disgusting and barbaric it's because it is (sadly, this is not the only time this humiliating practice occurred in history).

Read 27 tweets
Feb 28, 2018
Thread: following my tweet about the word "M*dget", lots of people are asking "but what do we call people with #dwarfism?". Listen close...

Please RT 1/
I promise you: the best thing to call someone with #dwarfism is *their name*.

If you don't know their name, ask yourself why you need to refer to their body before knowing who they are. This is important. 2/
3/ Know their name? Good. Then politely ask them how they like to refer to themselves.

It's for them to decide, not you. They are the author of the dictionary that defines them*

Don't know their name? See 2/.

(* I stole this from Zadie Smith)
Read 11 tweets

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