Rory McGuire is 24 years old, and from Ayr, in Scotland. For practically all of his life, he has experienced bullying because of a facial deformity – a vascular birthmark that covers his lip.
At the young age of 6, Rory felt he was “different”, and even as a child was subjected to comments such as “sausage face”, “how can you look in a mirror at that?”, “you’re so ugly”, “you look like an alien” and even “kill yourself”. However, he says it reached its worst during his teenage years, saying, “this is it – this is how life is going to be and I just have to deal with it”.
He says that his friends didn’t realise the extent of the torment, and he didn’t tell his parents about a lot of it.
Rory has survived over 20 surgeries to try to correct his birthmark, as well as blogging his experience of the abuse, and now has gained enough confidence to stand up for others with a facial disfigurement, in the hope that they won’t be treated the same way.
He supports the Changing Faces campaign, which began in 1992, and works to help those with a facial disfigurement to live the lives that they deserve, without living in fear of being verbally or physically abused, harassed, restricted or rejected. He hopes that through this campaign, and through hearing his experience, people will become more accepting and less prejudice of others because of their looks.
He said, “I am happy to be the face of a campaign that is all about making a difference and stop other people having the experience I had when I was younger. If I can help as many people as I can then that is my goal. For me, none of it is acceptable and if someone is being put down to the point they just can’t cope with it any more than they should feel there is help out there.”
He encourages anyone with a facial disfigurement to report any abuse towards them or others as a hate crime, in the hope that the police will respond.
Rory’s story is heartbreaking, and shows that in this world, people are still not fully accepting of others. Prejudice still exists, but we need to break it down, so that children with a facial disfigurement do not receive the same treatment that Rory McGuire did. No one deserves to feel worthless because of others, and especially not because of their appearance.