They always want an explanation that makes sense to them.
“How can you be asexual? I mean… … …everyone wants sex, right? How can you not want it? I don’t understand!”
“You say you identify as not human, but… what does that mean?”
“I don’t get it… there’s only male or female, so how do you identify as non-binary?”
The problem is that the nature of identity is that it is very personal. Years, even decades of self-exploration and self-discovery lead to the point where someone stands up and says, “I am X”. And you can’t describe those years of gaining knowledge about your self, to someone who never has felt that way and never will.
The skeptics admit with these sentences, that they personally do not feel this way. They think the idea of feeling this way is strange, they can’t understand it. But at the same time, they demand an explanation that makes sense to them logically or emotionally. An identity is never going to sound logical unless you personally are inside the head of the person who has it, because it is something that grows from that person’s personal experience, not from an objective truth. And someone else’s identity is not going to make sense to you emotionally, if you are someone who never would feel that identity.
When you already admit, “I can’t imagine feeling that way”, and then use it as the reason to be skeptical… you answered your own question about why it seems so wrong and strange to you.
Sometimes, you just need to listen to people and do the logical thing: accept that probably, it doesn’t sound strange to them. They have had different experiences and feelings that bring them to this point where this identity sounds like the most sensible thing. They are not copies of you, who split into a parallel reality one hour ago, except the parallel version of you just stood up and went, “I feel like I have no gender!” They are very different people who have been living with very different experiences for their whole lives, and their experiences and understanding of their selves make their gender identity/species identity/(a)sexuality/etc. make sense, the same way that your experiences and your understanding of your self make yours make sense.
You have to start by realising: it does not feel strange to be inside our own heads.
I’m one of those older generation of elves that existed before the internet otherkin culture and there’s a whole lot about this culture that I don’t understand. There are a lot of “new” types of kin and explanations for why otherkin exist that make no sense for me, but then I’m sure people on the outside looking at me think the same way about me. No matter. I just want to encourage you all to go spend time with otherkin people IRL. It’s much nicer. There are always otherkin people around. We are never alone. It’s just a matter of speaking up. Even in high school I had friends that I would talk to about being elves and fairies and such. Nobody ever disagreed with me. It was just a matter of finding people I trusted and that I knew were a little different too.
I’ve had this experience too—I identified as Elven and talked about it with my friends long before most modern social media even existed (I’m not old enough to remember Usenet, and I’m not part of OP’s generation, if I’m judging correctly by what they’ve said). It’s just a matter of finding people you trust, especially people who are a little weird too.
It’s much more pleasant offline, and I wish all of you the best of luck in finding kin you can be friends with out there in your offline lives. <3
i thought i’d abbreviate this, because i figured trolls probably have short attentions spans. i also bolded things.
Otherkin denial falls into two categories, claims that we are delusional and claims that we are wrong or lying.
Accusations of delusion equate otherkin identity with mental illness or disorder.
For something to be considered a mental disorder, it must be not only deviant but pathological. it must be harmful to the individual or society. Otherkin identity is not hurting anyone. Appropriative behavior is hurtful but is a sign of privilege and insensitivity, not mental disorder, and such behavior can be expected in any group which contains privileged members.
Claims that we are disordered often describe otherkin identity as symptomatic of feelings of social neglect or loneliness. This is not the case. Many otherkin have relatively normal social and occupational lives. For those who don’t, it is almost invariably because of conditions unrelated to their identity. Otherkin identity is no more a disorder or delusion than spiritual beliefs (though not all otherkin consider their identities spiritual.)
Claims that we are lying or wrong about our identities are seriously problematic, because these are claims to know more about someone’s feelings that the person who has them. There is an enormous difference between saying
You are not really a dragon.
You do not really feel like a dragon.
Most otherkin will acknowledge that the first claim is true in a physical sense, while maintaining that this does not in anyway invalidate their feelings or identity.
At this point denialists will often attempt dismiss these feelings by relating otherkin feelings to their own life experience, or what they consider the common human experience. For example, they will relate that they often identified with animals as a child, but grew out of it. Or they will express that everyone wants to be special, but you have to accept that it’s okay to be like everyone else. In either case, the denialist assumes a patronizing position and assumes that they understand otherkin feelings better than otherkin do.
At this point no aspect of physical reality is in question. The debate is entirely between a party claiming to have experienced an uncommon feeling, and a second party denying this claim.
Since the debate has nothing to do with physical reality but is entirely concerned with feelings, the only one who is capable of collecting relevant data is the being who has the feelings.
This argument strongly resembles arguments commonly used against trans* persons and suffers of chronic pain, particularly from conditions with ambiguous physical basis, such as fibromyalgia. For example, trans* persons are often attacked by feminists on the basis that since gender is purely a social construct they cannot genuinely feel that their assigned gender was incorrect. This is a case of siding with social theory over the self-reported feelings of an actual person, which is indefensible. I am not claiming that otherkin suffer similar oppression to trans* persons. I am claiming that unjustified skepticism of self-reported feelings is deeply problematic because of the harm it has done to numerous oppressed groups.
so when someone says they feel something, don’t say ‘no you don’t’ or ‘actually you’re just feeling something different’. that’s stupid.
Root Crops – Herbs such as garlic, ginger, and galangal are best harvested in the fall when the leaves start to yellow and the plant is preparing for a dormant period.
Annual and Biennial Herbs – Basil, summer savory, parsley, and other annual or biennial herbs grown for their leaves can usually be harvested periodically during the growing season. In fact, basil benefits from regular harvesting, which will prevent it from going to seed and completing its life cycle. Those of you in colder climates should also remember that your shorter growing season and harsher winters make it necessary to treat some true perennials as if they were annuals.
Flowering Herbs – Edible flowers from herbs such as roses, lavender, borage, and pot marigold are best harvested when the flower has just opened. The flower petals, ovary, and calyx are all firm and at their maximum freshness at this point.
Seed Herbs – Herbs that produce seeds require the most precise timing for harvest. You must wait until the seeds are fully ripe, since no further ripening or improvement in flavor will take place after the seedhead is separated from the plant. Once maturity is reached, harvest immediately to maximize the amount of the seeds you capture. Delaying even a few days can result in loss of the seed crop to hungry birds or scattering of the seeds due to high winds or other weather conditions.
Perennial Leaf Herbs – Perennial herbs are the easiest to harvest. In general, you can harvest any time during the growing season when enough plant material is available. My only caution is to avoid harvesting in late fall. Late harvesting can stimulate growth of tender shoots that will not have time to harden before winter hits. It can also deprive the plant of its natural buffer zone against drying winter winds that cause “die back” and sometimes the death of the plant.
Listening to it rain, having a conversation with The Doctor about reincarnation and what time tastes like, fighting for chair space with my cat.
My life is in no way normal.
Just another night, I guess—I have that revelation way too often for it to even qualify as a revelation anymore.
I feel like I missed something.
It doesn’t. I’ve typically only seen trolls and people who aren’t sure what they’re talking about lump the two in the same category.
Thanks for replying.
I definitely think more research should be done about transgender people, so that both cis and trans* people understand it better.
“What this says to me is that if there weren’t scientific evidence for trans* identities, you wouldn’t believe in trans* people’s identities either. If this is the case, then it tends to make me distrust the rest of your arguments, because it’s coming from a deep-seated place of skepticism for anything that’s yet to be scientifically proven, and you have to remember that everything we currently have that scientific proof for was once unproven, was once just people saying “I am this, I identify as such, you’ll just have to take my word for it”.”
You’re right. I don’t tend believe in anything until I see proof. But that doesn’t mean that I actively don’t believe in something if there’s no evidence. It just means I can’t make up my mind yet. It means I have to hear/read more about people’s experiences and about possible evidence until I can make a judgment (for myself), positive or negative.
Oh no, I wasn’t suggesting a causal relation between brain trauma and otherkin identities at all. I meant that our personality resides in our brain and not in a soul, because if our personality existed within an immaterial soul, then brain trauma wouldn’t alter it. But as brain trauma can alter people’s personalities, our personality must reside in our material brain and not in an immaterial soul.
And therefore a human brain should bring forth a human personality.
I think so too, but at the same time, I’m always a little bit wary of research, because it tends to then contribute to the “gatekeeper” problems that trans* people already have, with regards to getting therapy/hormones/surgery/whatever they need to be more comfortable (or don’t need, and risk getting told they aren’t “trans* enough”). I would love for there to be more research, but I also want people to take said research with a grain of salt, instead of assuming it’s a one-size-fits-all deal.
That’s fair. And also why I decided to reply. I’m always willing to help people who honestly want to learn, and I’ve seen some of your other responses, and you seem very willing to listen, and I do appreciate the fact that you’ve stepped up and apologised/changed your terminology where necessary. Which is a large part of why I’m willing to engage in conversation on the subject.
Alright, that makes sense. I’m a spiritualist, so I believe in the idea of souls, but I also believe that our sense of being comes from our brains and whatever metaphysical component we may have to our identities working in concert. That’s just my belief system. Though I do have something to think about now, because I can feel myself trying to form a theory to reconcile the idea of an identity being part of a soul and the idea of that identity either surviving or not surviving an injury to the body or brain. Hm. I’m sure I can reconcile it, I just need to figure out how best to word it. So thanks for getting me thinking!
Also, re: that last line. ”Should” does not necessarily mean “does”; this is a lot of the reason I bring up the fact that we are, even scientifically speaking, only at the tip of the iceberg of understanding how the brain works, what “consciousness” really is, and where our personalities come from. Even with things science can explain, people don’t always behave according to how they “should”. In short: the brain does weird things, and sometimes it throws scientific knowledge for a loop. (I just think it’s really fascinating, myself.)
I have just enough ambition to want to do the challenge, but not enough to find the original version.
somebody help me.
I’m new to tumblr and i don’t know how to tumbl
I’d just like to point out that I did not actually write this; Swanblood did. I reposted it for my own purposes, and because I had it saved to my harddrive and then couldn’t find the original post when I went to look for it. But yes, it’s originally Swanblood’s, not mine.
I support the right to identify as you seem fit, but claiming you’re an animal or a mythical or fictional creature trapped in a human’s body seems quite offensive to the transgendered community by appropriating their struggles.
Not to mention it’s a bit ridiculous.
We’re human. Our genes and/or (prenatal) environment make it possible to have a brain that resembles that of the opposite sex. This has been scientifically proven. It is not possible to have the brain of an animal or a fictional creature.
As brain traumas can alter an individual’s personality (proven over and over again), this personality (including experiences of identity) exists in the brain and not in a soul.
What are your opinions?
I’d especially like to hear the opinions of transgendered individuals.
I know you’ve already had the fact that it’s “transgender”, not “transgendered” pointed out to you, and thank you for taking note of that change.
First of all, I’ll state that I’m otherkin and trans*, for clarity’s sake.
There’s a few problems I see with your post’s premise. The major one is the fact that you point out the research that’s been done to prove that people can have a brain resembling the opposite sex. This bothers me on several levels, so let me see if I can break down the major points I want to make about it:
- The research that has been done to support this has only been done with very small samples, and if I recall, it was only done with trans men. These findings are significant, but small enough to be considered inconclusive.
- This largely erases nonbinary people—that is, those of us who identify as neither male nor female, or as both, or as any other gender/combination of genders. We don’t yet have any studies to prove whether it’s neurologically/scientifically possible to be nonbinary, and yet, we are, and there seem to be far fewer people (at least, it’s getting there) that would decry nonbinary identities than would decry otherkin identities.
- Gender is a complicated thing, and it doesn’t only exist in the brain (that is, in the physical formation of the brain itself). The fact is, we don’t know why trans* people are trans*. There are theories that suggest hormone levels in the womb, or prenatal developmental hiccups (since the brain and body don’t develop at the same rate), or early socialisation, or any number of things. We have guesses, but no evidence that any of these are correct—it might be something completely different altogether. Gender is a many-faceted, complicated, and mysterious thing that we’re just beginning to really understand.
- This is an argument that’s been brought up before, and as a trans* person, it does bother me—people are very fond of using scientific evidence for trans* identities to disprove otherkin identities. What this says to me is that if there weren’t scientific evidence for trans* identities, you wouldn’t believe in trans* people’s identities either. If this is the case, then it tends to make me distrust the rest of your arguments, because it’s coming from a deep-seated place of skepticism for anything that’s yet to be scientifically proven, and you have to remember that everything we currently have that scientific proof for was once unproven, was once just people saying “I am this, I identify as such, you’ll just have to take my word for it”.
- Ultimately, whether anything can be proven by science is irrelevant, I think. It’s possible that it could be, but we don’t currently have the technology to prove it. It’s possible that it’s something beyond our understanding of the brain and of consciousness and the experience of being. It’s possible we’ll never understand it, but that doesn’t make it any less real.
I think those are all the points I want to make on that particular section of your post. At any rate, I can’t think of anything else, though I do feel like I’m still missing something.
With regards to your suggestion of brain trauma, there are many, many otherkin who have never experienced trauma of any sort. And there are many people who have who are not otherkin. I’m actually not entirely sure why you brought this up, unless it was in an attempt to explain a theory on why otherkin exist, in which case I think it’s easily debunked.
Finally, this: I don’t necessarily think that any otherkin are claiming to have the actual brain of any other species, any more than we’re claiming to have any other physical manifestation of another species. What we’re saying is that we have an experience, a very tangible and real experience, of being something other than human, and that has nothing to do with our bodies or our brains—it might be something lurking in the vast pathways of our brains, yes, it might be neurology or psychology, or it might be something else entirely. We’re aware that we are, for all intents and purposes, physically human. But whatever part of us shapes our identity says we don’t feel human, and that’s enough for me.
I hope this helps some? I’d be happy to continue the conversation and further help you to understand, if you like.