Shauna Rae‘s new interest isn’t holding back!
Dan Swygart defended the pair’s budding relationship — which was featured on season 2 of I Am Shauna Rae — in two Instagram reels after he received criticism for pursuing the 23-year-old, who has pituitary dwarfism, making her body appearance more similar to that of an 8-year-old.
“Me and Shauna are still just good friends getting to know each other. But I think it’s absolutely disgusting the attitude of some people,” Dan, 26, shared in Sunday’s reel. “She’s been through so much in life. She survived cancer as a child, she’s always felt different and been treated different by society.”
“But how dare you take away her right, her human right, to have a connection, a friendship, a relationship with someone else? Who are you to say that she can’t have that?” he added.
Swygart insisted that he was “absolutely disgusted” by people’s attitudes towards the reality star and their friendship.
“I cannot believe some people who deny her the right to have a friendship or connection with someone else,” he said. “She is a human being, she is a cancer survivor, she’s got disability, she had dwarfism. Who are you to take away her right to have a friendship and connection with someone? How dare you? How dare you?”
In a second Instagram reel, Swygart — who is Welsh and British — detailed how he first connected with Shauna Rae.
“The way me and Shauna met was I saw the first season of the show,” he said. “And I was really inspired by her emotional strength so I sent her some flowers and a card to say go live your best life, wishing you all the happiness you deserve.”
“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,” he continued. “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.”
He concluded his message by praising Shauna Rae, calling her “this incredible, inspiring 23 year old woman who just happens to be a little bit short.”
“As soon as you say she can’t have a real world connection with someone else, you dehumanize her, which is absolutely disgusting,” he said. “She is a human being, she deserves to have relationships and connections with whoever she wants.”
“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.
Though the pair are not officially dating, Swygart has appeared on Shauna Rae’s Instagram several times in photos taken during their dates. One photo was snapped during their sushi making class, while another showed the pair paddleboarding.
In a previous conversation with PEOPLE, Shauna Rae opened up about the difficulties she faces when it comes to dating.
“I’m 22, but I look like I’m 8,” she explained. “My parents have put in my head all the people that could be attracted to me and why they could be attracted to me. I’m always looking for a red flag.”
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Seasons 1 and 2 I Am Shauna Rae are now streaming in full on Discovery+.