Paralympian Will Perry sick of abuse over dwarfism from strangers who laugh and film him in streets

  • Watch swimmer Will Perry’s full interview with ITV News Anglia reporter Graham Stothard

A Paralympian has condemned strangers who hurl "constant" abuse over his dwarfism - saying that he is often photographed, filmed and shouted at in the street. 

Swimmer Will Perry, 21, who represented Great Britain in Tokyo 2020, said people openly laugh and stare at him when he goes out in public.

The Northamptonshire athlete is now speaking out in the hope of changing attitudes, and has been backed by double Paralympic champion Maisie Summers-Newton.

Perry told ITV News Anglia: “It's a huge problem. It's a common problem we've been fighting for years, but it's a problem we haven't been solving.

"And now it's the time to solve this problem. We get abuse, we get laughed at, we get photographed, we get filmed all the time when we go out in public. It's constant.

Will Perry wants people to challenge abuse if they see it in their daily lives Credit: ITV Anglia

"You shouldn't have to be mentally strong to go out into public. We get so many looks, we get so many people pointing at us. It's so hard not to get upset about it, but we're taught to be strong.

"We're taught to be resilient by my parents, by my friends around me, but sometimes it's not enough."

Perry trains at Northampton Swimming Club, alongside double gold medal winner Maisie Summers-Newton.

She too is sometimes targeted in public, and said anyone who sees it happening should call it out.

“If you see someone like us out and about, and see someone being negative towards us, just stand up to them and just say, ‘There's no difference - what's the difference between you and them?’ We're all humans. Everyone's different.

“No one's perfect. That's how I see everyone.”

Perry said some people may not realise the offence they are causing, when they think they are being funny.

“We have the word called 'midget', which is incredibly offensive, incredibly upsetting and  incredibly derogatory. But some people call you that and think it's funny," he said.

"Someone told me that on my Instagram, and told me to 'take the joke'.

"If you're one of those people who thinks you're going to laugh at us, make a sneaky comment - we've heard it before.

"You're not funny. We've heard it a million times before. It's so unoriginal. It's so not funny. Just continue on with your daily lives.“

“They shouldn't care what I'm doing. They shouldn't care that I'm trying to reach for something on the shelves or that I'm walking around with a partner or family.

"They should not care, because I don't care either. I don't care about what anybody else is doing. I let them go about their business. Why should I not be allowed to go out and do my own business?” 

Perry has received support from his team-mate and fellow Northamptonshire swimmer Maisie Summers-Newton Credit: PA

Perry first raised the issue in a post on Instagram and said the response since had been incredibly positive.

“I was just hoping for a couple of re-shares and just to see what people might say, but I've had messages of condolence, I've had messages of anger, sympathy and the biggest message I've got is people standing with me," he said. "Standing by me, saying: ‘Will, we're with you’. 

“They stand with other people who have dwarfism. If you don't, then you're the target. They're the people I want to fix because it's 10 against one.

"We can fight them. It's an easy job if the public gets involved.”