Category Archives: little people of america

an open letter to rosie and chelsea

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Dearest darlingest Rosie and Chelsea,

First of all, I genuinely enjoy both of your work.  From what I know, you are raw, real and funny as hell! I think we would have great talks over dinner. I think you’re both worldly and whip-smart. I can imagine learning a ton from the both of you.  But I don’t genuinely know you or the feelings you have behind your probably-not-the-smartest comments you made on Rosie’s show.  I’m hoping the close-mindedness of your comments will actually spur change in a positive way.

I’m not so hurt by what you said, partly because I’m used to it.  I’ve experienced it first hand.  It’s more painful coming from people I actually know and opportunities actually lost because of ignorance.  A lot of people think the same thing, only most people don’t voice it or don’t have a public platform from which to speak.  I really want to change your mind, but I don’t think this can be done through screaming.  I think the only way to change your mind is for you to get to know me, or someone in my community, someone who is educated, passionate and fully alive.

I’ve lived in Hollywood for 3 years now.  I’ve seen a lot.  I am a teacher and an actress.  A lot of people out there have the exact same prejudices.  Nothing really surprises me in humanity in general.  Let’s hope that by you voicing your thoughts so publicly, that we can use your platform to make a difference, to really have a discussion that brings light and changes minds.  Vilifying either of you won’t really do that.

Chelsea– us LP’s, well I can only speak for myself, we don’t need to be rescued by you.  I get how you feel about Chuy.  He seems to have had a pretty painful life.  But you’re kind of perpetuating the problem.   We just want to be equal in society, we don’t want to be fetishes. Not all of us work in the porn industry and need to be rescued.  A lot of us are pretty darn normal.

  • “I want to tackle them.”
  • “Who else is going to give that guy of job?  Someone has to rescue him.  There’s not a lot of opportunities for that kind of people, they need our help.”

And Rosie–thanks for your honesty but get to know me so you won’t be afraid. We’re pretty freakin’ normal, well most of us, and yeah- don’t be scared.  Here’s where people get angry.  You’re a staunch advocate for equal rights in the LGBT community.  If you’re going to stand for the marginalized, you need to stand for all the marginalized.  If I campaign for No H8, I’d really like you to do the same.  As they say, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

  • “No that would be child abuse, I would never do that.”
  • “I have so many feelings, I can’t just act normal.”

Little People are as varied as black people, fat people, gay people, etc. Please, educate yourselves so you aren’t ignorant.  A lot of my LP acquaintances and friends want to vilify you both.  I just think you need some education, you need some healing.  We’re all a little bit broken.  So let’s do dinner and meet somewhere in the middle.

C’mon ladies, let’s just talk.

XOXO,
Jen

P.S. I’ve read all of your books, ladies!
P.P.S. Ro, I like your show’s new 1-on-1 format MUCH better!
P.P.P.S. After Lately is amazeballs!

more to come…

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I’m still on Cloud 9 on what this means for the disabled community in terms of the media! I’m going to post a video response soon, but until then, celebrate with me!

question sesh #2

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Ok, a few weeks back I got the ball rolling with question sesh #1 and I’m ready to tackle one of the harder questions I got this ’round.

So here we go:

 Don’t know if you can answer this question honestly without people thinking you’re talking about specific people (don’t know if you care) but I actually am interested in this debate/topic. How do you honestly feel about average size siblings and friends attending the LP conventions? How do you think most LP feel about it?

Yikes.  Let’s clarify one thing first–“without talking about specific people” here is quite tricky because I know exactly what the person who asked me this question is asking about (they included their opinion after the question in their email to me).  Okay–before we boil this down to a few points–let’s just say, I’m only one person among many and this is just my opinion.  And while I might not agree with ALL of the decisions someone else makes, I am able to separate that from the overall character of the person and let’s aim to all do that together, ok doke? :)

My gut reaction is wondering why random AP friends go to LPA conferences…

  • Sometimes I kind of worry about voyeurism–are they just going to point and gawk.  I am being totally honest here–this is my OWN insecurity–99.9% of the AP people I’ve met at the conferences are totally not there for that and are going to try and understand what it’s like to be small.
  • They kind of take over the dance floor at times.  And some of the guys pay more attention to them…again, is that just my jealousy talking?  Did I say that outloud?  But no seriously, I think there are a handful of LP guys who make a point of trying to get with tall girls at LPA conferences–it’s kind of an ego thing?  What do I know?
  • Sometimes I just want it to be about the LP buds that I rarely get to see and the AP’s that go with LP friends make the group “all about them.”  Sometimes.
  • I get how AP siblings would invite a friend to hang out with while their LP sibling is busy being social.  But I would say that most AP siblings would not need to do that because they have a huge community of other AP siblings that they have probably known their whole life–thus there being plenty of people for them to hang out with.

But!  There are a lot of reasons AP’s would go to LPA conferences and I’ve even wanted to invite some AP friends myself.

  • Sometimes I just want my AP friends to go with me so they can understand more what it’s like to be me and understand the dynamics of an LPA convention.  I sometimes feel like I have to try so hard to fit in and make people not think I’m different that I am less vulnerable about the struggle.  So considering inviting them to a conference is one way I am letting them into my world.  But then I think about my reasons not to invite them and I am often torn.
  • I have an average sized brother who went with our family to the conventions growing up.  There are a lot of average sized siblings that go and a lot of activities for them to do together.  It is like a support group for them as well.  My brother was the only AP person in our family and I imagine felt like an outsider sometimes.  So when he was a kid he had a lot of other AP sibling friends and they would have mixers and all sorts of fun things.  Now that he is almost 19, he doesn’t really go anymore.  Most of it probably has to do with the cost–why would he use his limited money for that?  I guess the need for support isn’t really predominant for him anymore–when we were kids my parents paid for him to go.  I think he’s kind of outgrown that now.   I do know he keeps in touch with other AP siblings.  There are always tons of AP family members and doctors that go to the conventions–so if my friends ever did go they would not feel out of place probably.  Did you know that 90% of LP’s are born to average sized parents? 

I guess this issue is kind of complex and really depends on the person and their own blend of LP/AP family members. 

For the most part, I think if AP friends go the main thing is to be respectful of the fact that this is the one time a lot of people who are there feel “normal”.  Realizing that is really important, in my opinion.  In some ways, my AP friends that I see day in and day out get me in ways my LP friends do not, who mostly only see me once a year.  But my LP friends and I share a bond of really understanding what the other person is going through that even my best AP friends have no idea about.  I only have a couple of best LP friends that I really know well and talk to on an almost daily basis–Zach and on a monthly basis–Josh (and his AP boyfriend David) :).  My other LP friend that I’ve gone shopping with a few times is Margaret who lives in my region so I get to see her 2-3 times a year.  But I have a lot of friends that I hang out with at the conventions and we pick up right where we left off at the convention before. 

social responsibility: celeb apprentice style

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Feel free to watch the entire episode here and tell me what you think in the comments section below.  You can also check out LPA’s official press release on the matter.

First of all–seriously?!  Both celebrity teams just “happened” to want to use little people as the punch line…hmm…

I’m not a regular viewer of Celebrity Apprentice but my friend Clint (who happens to be an LP) told me about it…

So here are my thoughts:

Part 1:

“Jesse James bathed by midgets…”
“That would be funny”.
“Jesse James being bathed by little people.”

It’s not even about the word – midget vs. little people.  Seriously.  What is so inherently funny about me, or a group of people like me?  Just stick a midget in a commercial and people will laugh?  That hurts. 

What if I changed midget to black person, homosexual, or mentally retarded?  Is that so laughable?  So then why is it okay–or why is it so darn funny–“midgets” make it viral?

Just put a bunch of little people in the video and people will gawk and laugh?  Wow.  I’m not angry because they used the less PC-term, midget, instead of little people.  I’m angry that they think I’m a sub-species just inherently funny because I exist.  I’m all for comedy–even things that push the envelope–but what about social responsibility?

Tell me, will someone please tell me, why I am such a joke?

Part 2:

Okay, so obviously the LP’s aren’t offended and need a buck or two or are perfectly fine with “selling out.”  But at the end of the day, I would urge them to consider the bigger picture.  Bigger than a freakin’ dollar or two–did they consider the social implications of what they were participating in?  That they were hired to be laughed at.  What would LP children think who saw this?  That they exist to be laughed at?

Jesse James was pretty nice overall, “I treat ’em like anyone else, they’re exactly the same as us, they’re just ‘that big'”.  But what I didn’t get was this statement by James:

“They know that people point and laugh at them and they’re totally comfortable within themselves to laugh back.”

I get it.  So I’m just not “comfortable with myself” so I won’t put myself in their position?  How about the fact that I am just one generation ahead of the little people whose parents gave them up to institutions and circuses because society told them to be ashamed?  Why would I support taking things back a decade or two, rather than moving things forward.  My biological parents gave me up for adoption because they didn’t want me to be institutionalized in Israel.  They gave me a chance.  It hurts, it makes me really sad, that we’ve come so far and yet still have so far to go.

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY people, SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY.  Get into it.

Feel free to watch the entire episode here and tell me what you think in the comments section below.

OMG OMG You Guys!

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Follow up, follow up, I am beyond honored to have been asked to co-host this year’s National LPA Conference Talent Show.  Josh’s boyfriend, the amazing David Andora, has designed our website and come up with all the promotional materials!  The stakes are high, I can’t wait! :)  I love hosting.

Check out our official website here and come back as it will be updated.

adapt

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So the other day, I am waiting in line at the pharmacy. Yadda yadda, just minding my own business when I hear the guy behind me complaining to the pharmacy technician.

I wish ADA would fix the credit card swipers, they are really not conducive to left-handed people.

And I’m kinda hoping he’s joking, because really? Of all the things the ADA (American Disabilities Act) has done – isn’t this kind of a joke?  But he keeps droning on complaining, clearly not joking here.

The best part was I am standing in front of him, in all my 4’1” glory, not even able to see the text on the credit card swiper which stands at eye-level. I am reaching above my head to sign the screen but not able to read the text due to the glare.

I’m not saying any of this to gripe about the ADA. This is the least of their worries. And yet, the ADA does not exist to customize my world for me. I’m not the norm and I just wanted to say to that guy, “dude, deal with it. If you’re not in the norm you can’t expect the world to cater to your every need. ADAPT.”

Duh…deal with life. The ADA has done a lot to make life liveable, but please, don’t ever expect anyone to cater to your every need. In a way, the struggle brings greater appreciation. When I find something that fits me or can access something “my-size” it is so exciting! I really appreciate it. Especially when my legs don’t have to dangle off, sitting in average-sized chairs, making them fall asleep!

mysink.jpgMy dad lowered the counters in our kitchen and made an extra little sink in our bathroom (my family is 4/5 little people) so that I could be independent and self-reliant. But never in a million years did they teach me to expect anything in the world to accommodate me, I must adapt to it. When you can’t do something, get a stool, climb up and do something about it!