A GLASGOW man is supporting calls for the film industry to stop using characters with facial differences as villains.

Dylan Lombard is one of 16 people worldwide who have been diagnosed with MDP Syndrome (Mandibular hypoplasia, with Deafness and Progeroid features), a rare metabolic disorder that prevents fatty tissues from being stored underneath the skin.

He is asking the film industry to take action against stereotypes which use facial differences to portray villainous characters, often in horror and action films.

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The 20-year-old said: “I love watching movies but I’m always seeing they’re portraying people with facial differences in a way that’s not positive.

“I think its important to educate people and help people to understand that people with facial differences can be the hero in the movie and that we aren’t villains.”

Changing Faces, a charity which provides support and promotes respect for everyone with a visible difference, launched the campaign I Am Not Your Villain to call on the film industry to stop using scars, burns, marks and other visible differences as a shorthand for villainy.

Glasgow Times:

Dylan, from Shawlands, is supporting the campaign and says that there needs to be more awareness of the issue and how it can make those with facial differences feel.

He explained: “When I watch a film and I see someone with a facial difference portrayed negatively, it makes you think maybe we are seen as bad people, or we’re not seen as being positive to society.

“And I feel that sometimes people can be maybe too judgemental quite quickly on how people look.”

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Photography student Dylan, who uses social media to raise awareness of MDP, says he believes that portraying characters in films with facial differences in a negative light can affect how people see them in real life.

He said: “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed it’s sometimes hard for the younger generation to understand that there are people with facial differences.

“Society is based on how we look but, for example, the movie Wonder is a great example for showing facial differences in a positive light.”

He added: “I really want to see change and I hope the film industry can see that lots of people want to see people with facial differences have that chance to be the hero in a movie.”

The British Film Institute (BFI) has signed up to the I Am Not Your Villain campaign and has committed to stop funding films in which negative characteristics are depicted through scars or facial difference.

Heather Blake, CEO of Changing Faces, said: “We know that Halloween can be an anxious time for those with visible differences.

“The film industry plays a role in this by reinforcing old-fashioned and harmful stereotypes.

“These carry through to everyday life for those with visible differences in ways that can have a lasting impact.

“Streaming platforms can help raise awareness and move the industry forward by acknowledging these film stereotypes, for example, adding a caveat to content that explains that these are present and harmful to those with visible differences.

“We’d also urge anyone with a visible difference who is affected by these negative stereotypes at Halloween to get in touch with Changing Faces for support.”