I am Shauna Rae: Man, 26, ‘dating’ woman trapped in eight-year-old’s body hits out amid furore

I am Shauna Rae: Man, 26, ‘dating’ woman trapped in eight-year-old’s body hits out amid furore

A man who is “dating” a woman stuck in the body of an eight-year-old girl has hit back at trolls who have labelled him “creepy”.

Dan Swygart, 26, and 23-year-old Shauna Rae Lesick have been building a “connection” after the pair started sharing messages on Instagram.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Dan hits back at haters

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Shauna, who appears in the US reality series I am Shauna Rae – which shows her navigating life as a disabled woman – stands at just 116cm tall and weighs 22kg.

Dan Swygart, 26, and 23-year-old Shauna Rae Lesick . Credit: Instagram/thereal_shaunarae99

Her small stature is a side effect of treatment she had for brain cancer as a child.

The treatment damaged her pituitary gland, leaving Shauna, from Pennsylvania, with a condition called pituitary dwarfism.

How did Dan and Shauna Rae meet?

Dan, a Brit, saw the first season of the show and was “inspired” by Shauna’s “emotional strength”, so he sent her some flowers and a card saying “go live your best life, wishing you all the happiness you deserve”.

He appeared on the second series of Shauna’s show – with the pair enjoying several dates together.

But while both are fully-consenting adults, Dan has faced accusations from people who question how he can be attracted to a woman who “looks like a kid”.

Dan says he knew he was “going to get some hate” when the pair’s relationship blossomed.

Shauna and Dan’s friendship has proved controversial. Credit: Instagram/thereal_shaunarae99

“It’s very important to remember that Shauna is an incredible 23-year-old woman who has a disability,” he said in an Instagram video.

“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.

“She’s this incredible, inspiring 23-year-old woman who just happens to be a little bit short. And as soon as you say that she can’t have a real-world connection with someone else, you dehumanise her which is absolutely disgusting.

“She is a human being. She deserves to have relationships and connections with whomever 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.”

Now, in a new video shared to Instagram, Dan has issued an even stronger response to haters.

“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,” he said.

“She’s been through so much in life. She survived cancer as a child, she’s always felt different and 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?” Dan went on.

“I am absolutely disgusted by some people’s attitudes towards her and my friendship with her. I cannot believe some people who deny her the right to have a friendship or a connection with someone else.

“How dare you? How dare you?”

Dan has hit back at haters. Credit: Instagram/thereal_shaunarae99

Despite the furore surrounding his relationship with Shauna, Dan said he had been contacted by many people with disabilities who have thanked him for showcasing the issue.

“It’s given so many people hope that despite them being different, they too can find an amazing friendship and connection with someone,” he concluded.

Social media responds

Dan fans were quick to flood his social media page with messages of support.

“Some people have no life but to sit and be hateful!… [Shauna] wasn’t born this way nor asked for this. She’s an amazing person inside and out. What does height have to do with anything at all honestly?” one supporter wrote.

“It doesn’t! Like you said she’s been through so much, but guess what she still keeps pushing along!!! I’m rooting for yall I actually hope it goes far!”

“Shauna and her family are such a fun/loving/supportive family. Her dad I know personally!” another viewer wrote.

“What you see on TV is who they are in real life. Having your friendship be it romantic or otherwise is proof to the world that everyone can have that connection despite the “norms “placed by a close-minded society.. More power to you Dan.”

“I don’t even watch the show, I followed you because I saw some of the backlash,” a third person weighed in.

“I think people are concerned that you might not have good intentions. They are expressing concern for her, but my take on that is it’s patronising.

“Shauna’s an adult and I’m sure she’s not stupid. If you make each other happy in whatever capacity good for you both.”

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