(Image ©Ines Barwig)
I’m Emily Sullivan Sanford and I’m an American woman with achondroplasia, the most common type of dwarfism. Any children I have biologically will each have a 50% chance of having achondroplasia. No choice about any of that.
What I did choose, among many things, was to undergo limb-lengthening throughout my adolescence, which brought me from a height of 4’2” (1.20 m) to 5’1” (1.50 m). You can read about my reasons for doing so here. Over those years, I taught seminars to middle school, high school and college students about dwarfism, limb-lengthening and every social consequence of these issues I could think of. Since then, I discovered I liked being such a loud-mouth so I’ve chosen to continue to write, speak, and argue about disabilities and disenfranchisement in all its forms. I also chose not to have my 60+ scars surgically removed.
I currently work as a writer, translator and teacher in Berlin. I’m constantly trying to figure out why inequality has survived throughout human history for so long, why truly universal human rights is such a young concept. Chauvinism based on that about which we have no choice – our sex, gender identity, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality, physical traits, or mental abilities – is so utterly illogical, yet it endures. Call it feminism, call it civil rights, call it human rights, call it battling prejudice or promoting diversity. No matter the label, this blog aims to spark discussion by confronting any hierarchies based on our delusions of normalcy.
But any “holier than thou” attitude that comes across should be ignored or called out. Because I’m anything but holy.
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The identities of many of the unnamed people cited in my blog posts have been altered to protect their privacy.