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Dwarf stands up for his right to be tossed

Author: AFP
Monday, December 10, 2001
A small man is standing up to a Florida law that bans the rowdy spectacle known as dwarf tossing.

The 96.5-centimetre (three-foot-two-inch) David Flood says he can make up his own mind about buckling on a harness and crash helmet and letting
himself be flung like a sledge hammer onto a pile of mattresses.

"As soon as you have a physical handicap ... all of a sudden they treat you like you don't have a mind of your own," Flood, 37, told the Tampa
Tribune. Flood's lawsuit alleges that banning dwarf tossing is unconstitutional.

The bar-room sport - the person who throws the dwarf the greatest distance wins the contest - was banned in 1989 after intense lobbying by Little
People of America (LPA).

"(Dwarf tossing is) reminiscent of the side show circus days in that the person with dwarves is objectified and dehumanised in the name of
'entertainment'," said an LPA statement.

LPA says dwarves can easily be hurt. "Vigorous physical activities and contact sports (especially dwarf tossing) place a person with dwarfism at high
risk of back and neck injury that could result in paralysis," said Robert Van Etten, director of the Florida LPA in a statement.

LPA won't give an inch on the matter, lest it become widespread. "Legalised dwarf tossing sends the message that it is acceptable to lift and toss any
person with dwarfism," said LPA.

That hasn't daunted Flood, who works as "Dave the Dwarf" on a Tampa, Florida radio show. He is suing in US District Court to defend his freedom to

"Just because I'm three-foot-two doesn't mean I can't make decisions," said Flood.