The man dating a woman who is ‘trapped in a kid’s body’ has responded to critics labelling him a ‘creep’, reminding the haters that his partner is ‘a human being’ who ‘deserves to have relationships’.
Dan Swygart, 26, has been forced to defend his romance with Shauna Rae, 23, who stands at 3ft 10in tall and weighs just 50lbs.
She was diagnosed with brain cancer when she was a child, which led to her undergoing chemotherapy.
In turn, she suffered damage to her pituitary gland, which affected her growth and caused her to develop pituitary dwarfism.
In the TLC series I Am Shauna Rae, she has opened up about her condition and how it has affected her life – at one point introducing viewers to Dan, who she has been seeing since he slid into her DMs after reading about her story.
In a video posted last month, which has resurfaced after Shauna’s story went viral, Dan – who is from Wales and travelled to the US to see Shauna and her family last year – hit out at the trolls who ‘aren’t emotionally mature enough’ to understand their connection.
“It’s very important to remember that Shauna is an incredible 23-year-old woman who has a disability,” he said.
“So as you are building a connection with her, it’s important to acknowledge her disability and look past that and build it with who she is an individual.
“She’s this incredible, inspiring 23-year-old woman who just happens to be a little bit short.”
At the time the episode came out, many viewers took to the comments section on YouTube to say they thought the relationship was ‘concerning’, ‘weird’ and ‘creepy’, with one writing: “I’m sorry, but any man that wants to date her – there is definitely something not right with him.
“Yes, she is 23, but she looks and talks like an eight-year-old. She also does not act like a mature woman. She is childlike.”
But Dan continued defiantly: “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.”
Shauna’s mother, Patricia ‘Patty’ Schrankel, commented on Dan’s video to praise his wise words, saying: “Well said Dan. I appreciate your coming into our lives.”
Many others also offered their support to Dan and Shauna, saying ‘love is love’.
One wrote: “So well said! You BOTH deserve to be happy. There’s too much judgement in this world. Wishing you both future happiness.”
Someone else added: “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.”