This is quite the predicament. A 26-year-old man has found himself defending his choices after catching heat for dating a small woman. Dan Swygart first came under fire after appearing on the TLC reality show I am Shauna Rae. The show follows the life of 23-year-old Shauna Rae, who has pituitary dwarfism after receiving chemotherapy as a child.
Dan Swygart Sent Shauna Rae Flowers and a Card After Seeing Her on TV. He Says He Admired Her Strength and Personality.
Shauna Rae is only 3’ 10” and weighs 50 lbs. She was born with brain cancer and the treatments, which put the cancer in remission, caused her body to stop growing. Her reality show gives an in-depth perspective of her disability and how people treat her. Shauna says she is constantly having to prove that she’s actually an adult. At one point, she was interrogated by a hospital that wouldn’t let her leave without her parents, prompting her to time an escape.
In an Instagram video, Swygart explained how he first met Shauna Rae.
“I saw the first season of the show. I was really inspired by her emotional strength. So, I sent her some flowers and a card saying, ‘go live your best life. Wishing you all the happiness you deserve.”
Swygart then appeared on the reality show, which revealed a budding romance.
“Of course, I did the show knowing I was going to get some hate. But it’s very important to remember that Shauna is an incredible 23-year-old woman who has a disability. So, as you’re building a connection with her, it’s important to acknowledge her disability and look past that and build it with who she is as an individual.”
Rae Attracts Men, Both Tall and Short
The Mirror reports that Shauna Rae’s parents have previously voiced concerns that their tiny adult daughter will naturally attract pedophiles. But after a bit of an “interrogation,” Shauna’s dad gave his “seal of approval.”
It’s not clear if Shauna Rae and Dan Swygart will become a long-term and official couple. Swygart is a UK-based travel blogger and Rae lives on Long Island in New York.
“I haven’t actually really thought about if Dan and I were in a relationship and how that would look,” Rae said on the reality show. “I assume that we would probably try long-distance, but I’ve been in a long-distance relationship. It’s not my cup of tea.”
Rae was also set up on a blind date with a 4’8” firefighter with pituitary dwarfism in the show’s new season.
“There was this extra understanding,” she said of their dynamic. “He didn’t have to sit there and have a medical talk with me, which is what I have to do with most men that I date. “It was nice I didn’t have to walk him through that.”
Swygart Says the Point Is That 23-Year-Old Shauna Rae Is a Human and Deserves to Have the Relationships She Wants
Regardless of what happens with Shauna Rae and her full-sized male love interest, Swygart has found himself in a very odd position. He’s advocating for looking past Rae’s disability, which is important and heroic in its own right.
“She’s an incredible and inspiring 23-year-old woman who happens to be a little bit short,” he said on Instagram. “And as soon as you say that she can’t have a real-world connection with someone else, you dehumanize her, which is absolutely disgusting. She is a human being. She deserves to have relationships and connections with whoever she wants.”
“And I think some people aren’t emotionally mature enough to understand that you can have a deep connection based on personality, rather than just on looks,” he added.
Swygart has been accused of pedophilic behavior because of Shauna Rae’s looks but he seems to have said what needed to be said.
Comments under his post also commended him for his perspective.
“Agree! I’m 3’11 and my husband is 6’3. When we first started dating everyone assumed we were together for the dumbest reasons. Just because a person is short, doesn’t define who we are as individuals and that we can’t have a normal life. Love is love,” one person wrote.
“I think the world was really wondering how you would handle this situation publicly, and you’ve handled it with such grace and admiration. it truly shows what kind of man you are; which is a good one. Kudos to you!” wrote another.
Swygart is still getting a lot of grief for his relationship, which he addressed in a follow-up post here. It is, quite frankly, difficult for many people to separate what they see from the disability itself.