A long-standing term in minor hockey is now outdated says an Alberta group that is opposed to the use of the word.
The Alberta Little Person Association wants the term midget to be removed from under-18 hockey.
“We want to raise awareness to say that this word is not appropriate anymore,” Jessica Hayhoe, who is the group’s vice-president, told 770 CHQR on Monday.
“Our group has come together and have approached Sports Alberta to talk about this with them to make it more of a grouping for sports that go with the age group,” Hayhoe said, “and not necessarily a word that is thrown around casually in the sports world.”
Listen below: Alberta Little People Association vice-president Jessica Hayhoe joins Zack Hewitt to discuss the use of ‘midget’ in sports
The Alberta Little People Association provides information to families that have children with skeletal dysplasia — a group of bone and cartilage disorders that can affect the fetus while developing in the womb. According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, skeletal dysplasia affects one in every 4,000 to 5,000 births.
Hayhoe said little people prefer that their given names be used.
“And I would say, yes, I’m a little person. Yes, I’m a dwarf. We’re leaning more towards little person. But right now we’re working on the M-word, and that word has been used in the past with freak shows and that type of thing,” she said.
“I’ve told parents, when I’m out in public, not to shy their children away but to encourage them to ask questions.”
Hayhoe agreed with 770 CHQR host Zack Hewitt that little reason remains to use the term midget.
“What is the real reason and why do we need to continue it?” Hayhoe asked. “More people are becoming aware of this, and it’s becoming unacceptable to use it for an actual person of short stature.”
Hayhoe pointed to one actor in particular as a role model for little people.
“If you look back at what Peter Dinklage has done, he doesn’t take roles that portray… elves or other little-type people. He has stood up for himself and said, ‘No, I’m not going to take those roles,’ even though, in that movie, they do make comment of it, he doesn’t bow down to it.”
“Even in the Elf movie, he still stood up for saying, ‘No, I’m not an elf. I’m an author, I’m my own person.’”
Hayhoe said amateur sports organizations across North America are removing the term midget from their age groups.
“Sport Manitoba is, Ontario Basketball is, Hockey BC and Hockey PEI and Hockey Quebec are, and nationally, we’re working with Hockey Canada. The US Hockey Federation, for 2016-17 season, eliminated the word. So it’s becoming more worldwide, not just here in Canada,” Hayhoe said.
“We are asking for acceptance and respect from everybody.”
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