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Why Are Some Therians So Touchy About Being Otherkin?
Chimera
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Post: #1
Why Are Some Therians So Touchy About Being Otherkin?
Why is it that some in the therian community are so admit about not being included under the otherkin label? Its always kind of confusing. In some ways I see the reasons behind it (and some of the reasons make sense in shades), but sometimes it just makes me turn my head and think “…what?”

A few things I have seen and my reaction to it -
Argument 1 - “Otherkin explain it spiritual means by majority and therians explain it by psychology by majority.”
One thing that comes to my mind is - this is false more or less (though specific communities vary of course) because all around and all together the various subsets of the community actually seem to be somewhat evened by these two possible ‘causes’ more and more. (At least in the therianthropy community alone it seems pretty evenly half and half at times). Plus, it ignores the history of the therian community which started out as a very spiritual (and even shamanic by some a number of peoples) consideration not to mention it also ignores all those therians that do see it as spiritual and all those otherkin that do see it as psychological.

Argument 2 - “The therian community started out on its own and/or still stands on its own.”
Yes did… but so did the dragonkin community, the elvenkin community, the unicornkin community… in some way or another at some time or another. Plus there still are places that are just for dragons and just for unicorns etc - just like there are just therian places. Plus even as otherkin community was going on and before the therian community was even starting there were “wolfkin” (at the very least) and such in the emerging otherkin community from what we have across. As Spiridon is finding out more and more about the unicorn community - it has always been an entity unto itself which started up also on its own basically. He hasn’t seem them complaining being labeled under otherkin.

Argument 3 - “The otherkin community are prone to have fluffies.”
…and the therian community isn’t? I think this argument really grinds my gears a bit. Of course there are fluffies! Every subgroup has them and in each subgroup there seems to have a stereotypical idea of how these ’fluffies’ end up being.


Now I don’t think all therians have to accept and embrace that they are part of a greater otherkin community, as it an umbrella over countless subsets within subsets as it stands. Plus, there are some communities such as the unicornkin community which overall is even more ‘we stay in our own small communities’ that Spiridon has ever seen! However, getting down to it - in the long run it will likely be something that will have to be accepted more or less. We are getting a minor in anthropology and so we have seen now they classify plus we have managed to read what is out there so far about the otherkin community and they have also already started lumping therianthropes in with the dragonkin, and the celestials, and so on under the overall label of otherkin.

I don't know what are your thoughts on this? Is this really that prevalent or are other subgroups like this as well? Do they have a valid argument in our mind or just do it not make sense to you?

- Kardegray
2012-06-06 23:54
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Post: #2
Re: Why Are Some Therians So Touchy About Being Otherkin?
I'm with you. I acknowledge those arguments, but find that they don't hold water. The only one I can see as being valid is that the therian community evolved separately, but you make a good point that other communities did as well and have no issue with being included under the otherkin umbrella. In my mind, otherkin are people who identify as not human on some internal level. Period. Thus therians, identifying as not human, are otherkin.

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2012-06-07 1:52
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Post: #3
Re: Why Are Some Therians So Touchy About Being Otherkin?
Quite a few therians we know, including members of this system, would argue that it's not any of the otherkin community's damn business what labels therians adopt, and it's presumptuous to treat therians as a subset of that community.

Just going on the names themselves, 'therian' is derived from a root which originally indicated 'beast' or 'animal'. 'Otherkin' is indicative of that which is 'other' to a culture or world... and animals which are confirmed to exist on Earth definitely aren't 'other' to Earth. Nearly all non-therian kintypes are species directly derived from fiction, mythology, religion... not from provably extant species. With the exception of the handful of dragons, unicorns, etc. who consider themselves therian specifically, all theriotypes are derived from entities which provably exist. This isn't about whether or not those unproven entity-based identities are valid, it's simply about how they are described and categorized.

As for the histories of these groups, bear in mind that the dragonkin, elvenkin communities, etc., all evolved into each other naturally, without forcing the issue through one group effectively saying to another, "You MUST accept us as the umbrella group over you, and even if you don't, we're going to speak about your group, on behalf of it, without acknowledging you as separate entities whose experiences and views might differ from ours."
That may not be what the OK communities MEAN by pushing this issue, but it's basically how the therian communities receive that pressure.
Therian and OK communities evolved APART, just as naturally as the otherkin subcommunities evolved together.

If otherkins really want to be lumped into the same categories with therians, then they can do it respectfully through the adoption of a mutually agreed-upon label, such as nonhuman or transspecies, both of which have received wide acceptance in Tumblr and are slowly but steadily taking root in the smaller forum communities.

*shrug* Each will believe what they want, but we just consider it fundamentally disrespectful for communities to presume on each other's labels like that. It's additionally disrespectful to disregard divergent histories and evolutions of communities, when the community being forced to assimilate is the one which genuinely considers those divergent histories important and a valid reason for resisting the assimilation. If you're wanting therians to accept otherkin as the umbrella group, this is definitely not the way to win them over to it.

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2012-06-07 9:50
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Post: #4
Re: Why Are Some Therians So Touchy About Being Otherkin?
Of course. Its not anyone’s business to say what someone can and cannot define themselves as. But that also works on the flipside to mean why is anyone business if some therians do consider themselves a subset of otherkin.

Plus, there are still subsets of the ‘overall community’ that are still as APART from the ‘otherkin community’ as the therian community. Meaning - you see them on otherkin forums some bit here and there (as you do with therianthropes) but they still have their own words and community culture within their own separate community where most of them stay, but I don’t see anyone raising such concern that they are being subjugated into being labeled as otherkin.

- Kardegray
2012-06-07 11:27
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Post: #5
Re: Why Are Some Therians So Touchy About Being Otherkin?
Are they personally speaking up for themselves and saying they find the umbrella-stamping uncomfortable or upsetting? What groups are they; we haven't seen them? If a group has its own labels, we'd just as soon use the ones it chose.

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2012-06-07 13:44
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Post: #6
Re: Why Are Some Therians So Touchy About Being Otherkin?
The unicorn community was created after the book Are You a Unicorn: The Mission and Meaning of Unicorns by Roy Wilkinson about unicorns in human bodies in the 90s. From there the website always believed was created in the late 90s/very early 2000s (by at least early 2001 I know the site existed) and from there a small yahoo group H.U.S.H was formed. Early on, to my research they never called themselves ‘otherkin’. Only unicorns or unicorns in human form. The community is very small and not very active like other communities and there are some that don’t call themselves unicornkin and or refuse or do not want to be apart of the community. However others have given the usual definition of otherkin is nonhuman in human body, but still do not want to be a part of the otherkin community.

Plus to quote Orion’s Otherkin Timeline “A community of people who identify as dragons developed independently of this on the alt.fan.dragons newsgroup, starting in about 1994.” (On page 6) Similar to what happened with the therianthrope community it started as people coming together claiming to be dragons in human form. And that the originally referred to themselves as dragonic and their condition was dragonity until meeting up with the overall otherkin community later on after a number of years by perhaps as late as 1999.

That is not to mention the fictionkin community until recently has been forced out and away from the otherkin label by other otherkin and so has also developed on its own more or less.

- Spiridon
2012-06-07 15:23
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Post: #7
Re: Why Are Some Therians So Touchy About Being Otherkin?
Seraphyna Wrote:In my mind, otherkin are people who identify as not human on some internal level. Period. Thus therians, identifying as not human, are otherkin.

Agreed.

The only argument I can see from some therians is that "Otherkin are mythological creatures and therians are earth-based animals". Or the more in-depth idea that Otherkin tend to have culture on some level whereas therians don't. In which case, the basic definition is still true: someone who identifies in some internal way as non-human.

Like it or not, therians ARE Otherkin. It simply comes down to basic categorization.

And it's like sparky once said, if we're going to stop making the distinction (Otherkin, therians and vampires) we need to stop using those sorts of phrases and simply say 'Otherkin'. Eventually, people will understand we mean that to include therianthropy.

Estelore Wrote:Quite a few therians we know, including members of this system, would argue that it's not any of the otherkin community's damn business what labels therians adopt, and it's presumptuous to treat therians as a subset of that community.

But...why? Why would it be presumptuous to be lumped into a group that, for all intensive purposes, is experiencing the same, basic thing? It'd be like calling a dolphin a Cetacean and having the dolphin get all huffy about being grouped in with whales. They're still the same at their basic level.

Estelore Wrote:This isn't about whether or not those unproven entity-based identities are valid, it's simply about how they are described and categorized.

But when you break it down like that, it really makes it seem that you're basically saying therians are valid because they're earth-based animals and Otherkin are not since they're from mythology. Neither group is more or less valid than the other, simply individuals who share a common underlying belief. And since it's a category which includes many experiences, theories, etc., it does fit and is legitimate as a descriptor for therians as being Otherkin.

What I've gathered from most therians who disagree with the Otherkin umbrella term is basically that they don't want to be lumped in with the fluffy RP'ers. Which is simply ridiculous as there are fluffy RP'ers in EVERY subculture!

Estelore Wrote:That may not be what the OK communities MEAN by pushing this issue, but it's basically how the therian communities receive that pressure.

Um, no. As an active member on a therian forum, I'm going to have to disagree. It's actually about an even split between people who believe therians are Otherkin and therians who don't.

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2012-06-07 15:37
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Post: #8
Re: Why Are Some Therians So Touchy About Being Otherkin?
>_<

What part of "This isn't about whether or not...identities are valid" was the part that you interpreted as "really makes it seem that [we're] basically saying therians are valid... and Otherkin are not...." ?

You literally just responded to exactly the opposite of what we said.

Dolphins and whales have scientifically provable genetic and physiological resemblance. If we're going to use animal taxonomy as our basis for comparison, we might as well just call everybody human and ditch all the other labels, because in taxonomy, every last damn one of us is genetically and physiologically human, regardless of identity.

It's not experiencing "the same, basic thing." It's experiencing a similar thing.
Having a gender, racial, or species identity differing from the body's presentation, genetics, and physiology are all similar things, but they are not by any means the same thing, and there is a considerable portion of the trans* community who would be extremely pissed off to find otherkin lumping themselves into the same category as transgender individuals.

The degree of separation between therians and otherkin might be less than the degree of separation between otherkin and transgender identities, but the separation DOES exist, the distinction IS created by the group which is having the umbrella label being imposed on it, and we don't see why it has to be so difficult for the otherkin community to respect the wishes of a little over half the therian community when they ask not to be lumped into the same label, since it ISN'T affiliated with their group history, culture, or the terminology they wish to adopt.

It's not about validity, at least not for us and most of the people we've met who share the objection. It's about invasiveness of the group trying to impose the label.

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2012-06-07 17:55
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Post: #9
Re: Why Are Some Therians So Touchy About Being Otherkin?
Estelore Wrote:Dolphins and whales have scientifically provable genetic and physiological resemblance. If we're going to use animal taxonomy as our basis for comparison, we might as well just call everybody human and ditch all the other labels, because in taxonomy, every last damn one of us is genetically and physiologically human, regardless of identity.
Science -well no, but anthropology and psychology - yes. Like I said in the original post, the few articles that are starting to be written are taking the definition that otherkin means “feeling nonhuman in a human body” and that therianthropes are a subset, a community within an umbrella community. Once that ball starts rolling, its going.

Estelore Wrote:The degree of separation between therians and otherkin might be less than the degree of separation between otherkin and transgender identities, but the separation DOES exist, the distinction IS created by the group which is having the umbrella label being imposed on it, and we don't see why it has to be so difficult for the otherkin community to respect the wishes of a little over half the therian community when they ask not to be lumped into the same label, since it ISN'T affiliated with their group history, culture, or the terminology they wish to adopt.
What’s the difference? Experiences are the same more or less across the board. Sure there is community separation past and present between the therianthrope as its own entity - but so is there a unicorn community and draconic community standing alone out there.

The fact that Earth animals exist in reality and everything else does not is obvious, but all of us are still human. So it really doesn’t matter from a psychological or (sub)cultural standpoint - we’re still human and we identity as something that is not human.

Its not about therians having to call themselves 'otherkin' but so too do neither unicorns have to consider themselves otherkin if they don't want to or draconics have to consider themselves otherkin - but its the fact the word still means what it means regardless if it is used by a person or not.

- Kardegray
2012-06-07 18:12
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Post: #10
Re: Why Are Some Therians So Touchy About Being Otherkin?
Estelore Wrote:What part of "This isn't about whether or not...identities are valid" was the part that you interpreted as "really makes it seem that [we're] basically saying therians are valid... and Otherkin are not...." ?

You're full quote is "This isn't about whether or not those unproven entity-based identities are valid, it's simply about how they are described and categorized." You are still implying, based on the rest of your first post, that therians are somehow better than otherkin.

What I fail to see in your post is why they are different and I tried to point that out. If something is similar to something else within a broader category, they're put together under that category for clarity's sake.

Estelore Wrote:You literally just responded to exactly the opposite of what we said.

Because you're not making any sort of rationale, scientific argument as to why therians wouldn't be classified (scientifically, anthropologically, etc.) as being a sub group of otherkin. WHY should they be separate? As far as I can see, along with many other people, they're fundamentally the same which means they should be categorized together. Otherkin is simply the genus to the various species within it (angelics, demons, fae, therians, walk-ins, etc.) and it means the same thing as non-human or transspecies (which was my whole point with the dolphin/whale/Cetacean analogy).

I'm in no way suggesting that therians should simply shirk off their forum culture and just jump onto all the otherkin forums instead. That would not work, obviously. But recognizing that both groups, which developed independently but at the same time as each other with similar, if not identical, ideas, still share the most basic idea regarding identity: not being entirely human.

Estelore Wrote:It's not experiencing "the same, basic thing." It's experiencing a similar thing.

Please, elaborate as I see no significant differences. The basics are the same: a physical human identifying as something non-human. I really cannot make it any simpler. <!-- s:? --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_confused.gif" alt=":?" title="Confused" /><!-- s:? -->

Estelore Wrote:Having a gender, racial, or species identity differing from the body's presentation, genetics, and physiology are all similar things, but they are not by any means the same thing, and there is a considerable portion of the trans* community who would be extremely pissed off to find otherkin lumping themselves into the same category as transgender individuals.

Where did I say otherkin are the same as trans people? Granted, gender identity does effect many 'kin, but that's not what we're discussing here. I would say that trans people's experiences are similar to otherkin, in that they're not right/happy in the bodies they're born into, but then both groups differ as one identifies with another species and the other with a different gender. But both otherkin and therians identify as another species.

Estelore Wrote:The degree of separation between therians and otherkin might be less than the degree of separation between otherkin and transgender identities, but the separation DOES exist, the distinction IS created by the group which is having the umbrella label being imposed on it, and we don't see why it has to be so difficult for the otherkin community to respect the wishes of a little over half the therian community when they ask not to be lumped into the same label, since it ISN'T affiliated with their group history, culture, or the terminology they wish to adopt.

Estelore Wrote:It's about invasiveness of the group trying to impose the label.

Um, therian here. And I don't feel upset at being labeled: otherkin-therian. It's never bothered me since it makes sense!

And no one is forcing anyone else, or anyone else's 'group', to use a certain term. Same as with varying 'kin types, you make that call yourself. Some of us prefer it, others do not. This discussion is about WHY some people make that distinction.

I'm sorry, but this is a very hot topic with me as the only conceivable reason I can see to make the distinction between therians not being otherkin is because some people don't want to be lumped in with critters from mythology because that somehow makes them less valid.

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2012-06-07 18:51
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