Right now, you either know what otherkin are or you don’t. If this is the first time you’ve ever heard this term – oh boy – you better get ready to have your mind blown because this is by far one of the most bizarre groups of people I’ve ever researched. And believe me – that’s saying something!
Maybe you already know about these folks and you just want to learn more, or maybe, just maybe, you are one of the hundreds of thousands (yes, hundreds of thousands) of people who identify as part of this subculture.
A subculture can be loosely defined as a group of people who have beliefs or interests that are different to society at large. Hackers, hippies, even gamers all form their own subcultures and, in a society as diverse as ours, there seems to be a place for everyone. But as accepting as we are (or we claim to be), can we wrap our minds around the concept of otherkin?
It’s a brave new world out there and we are constantly fed this idea that you can be whatever you want to be and no-one should judge you – but sadly that’s not really how it works. Especially for this subculture.
Come with me now, if you dare, into the surreal world of otherkin.
15 They Believe They Are Non-Human
The first thing that I need to explain (especially for the folks who might not know) is: what are otherkin? Simply put (we’ll get into more details in a moment) these people believe that they are non-human. Some even feel that they were born as the wrong species, claiming that they identify with certain animals more than they do with humans. The folks who identify as animals are known as therians.
Otherkin also believe that they are not fully human, but here it goes a step further. They identify as “something else” (so not animal or human) and there are really no limits when it comes to their “spirit” personas. Many identify with mythical creatures – for example; mermaidkin, dragonkin, angelkin, and fairykin – to name just a few.
14 They Believe Their DNA Is Different
People who identify as otherkin truly believe that the only “human” part of themselves is their body. A few take it even further, insisting that they not only spiritually feel like a mermaid or a dragon, but that they are actually biologically (yes on a DNA level) part of this creature as well. I couldn’t make this stuff up, even if I tried.
Many of them claim that they have felt this way since they were children. They claim to have “past life memories” (sometimes, now hold onto your hats here), from different dimensions and some even claim that they see themselves as anthropomorphic beings when they look in the mirror.
13 There Are No Limits When It Comes To Kintypes
When I started researching this topic, I considered myself an open-minded individual, but an afternoon on Tumblr checking out #otherkin really pushed me to the limit. Check out this short list of otherkin types that I found and I’ll bet you’ll see why.
There are those who believe they are mythical creatures like the angelkin, dragonkin, and demonkin, as well as those who insist they have the soul of a machine (example: robotkin). Some otherkin identify as godkins and prefer to be referred to as demigods like Pluto or Thor. Then there are starkin or alienkin, who claim to be part-human and part-alien. Weatherkin falls under naturekin (a human with the soul of a nature spirit) and this even includes, yes, raindropkin.
Again – this short list is just scraping the surface.
12 Some Believe They Are Fictional Characters
Fictionkin is almost like a subculture within the otherkin subculture and I found it so bizarre that I thought it deserved its own entry. You’ll see why.
Fictionkin (also known as mediakin or otakukin) are members of the otherkin community who identify as a fictional character or species. A common theory in this group is that every “fictional” world is actually a universe with the multiverse. In their minds, this means that a soul can travel across these universes and end up on Earth.
There has been some debate within the otherkin community about whether fictionkin (particularly those who identify as human fictional characters) should be considered otherkin and from what we can tell it is still raging on, although generally all types of otherkin are accepted by one another.
11 The Internet Is Not Crazy About Otherkin
As a society we are still, even going into 2018, having a difficult time accepting people regardless of their race or sexual preference so for most people the idea of otherkin, people who believe they are non-human, is just too incomprehensible. We struggle to wrap our minds around such a crazy-sounding concept and we’re a long way from being able to take this subculture seriously.
So as you can imagine – these folks are prime targets for internet trolls and the online hate is rampant. The opinions about otherkin seem to fall into two categories: either that the otherkin person is trying to draw attention to themselves, or that they are suffering from some sort of mental illness. Either way, the support for otherkin outside their own community is virtually non-existent.
10 They Feel That They Deserve The Same Respect As Transgenders
Yes, you read that headline correctly, and I can already see the comments section of this post filling up. Before you head off for a rant, listen first: we aren't comparing the transgender community with otherkins in any way, at all. For starters, gender dysphoria has actually been scientifically proven and can be diagnosed using a defined set of criteria. Otherkin, so far, is nothing more than feelings and as we all know, science trumps feelings every time.
But nevertheless, many otherkin folks believe that they are entitled to the same amount of respect as transgenders, as they are “tran-species”. But can we really, and I mean honestly, consider the plight of a person born the wrong sex, and the outpourings of a person who believes they are a raindrop, on the same level?
9 They Claim To Have Phantom Limb Sensations
Sometimes when a person has a limb amputated, they can still feel sensations– like itching or burning– coming from the “phantom limb”. Some otherkin claim that they had similar experiences except that they believe that they are sensing limbs or body parts that have never existed (not in this life or universe, anyway).
This condition has a name, it’s called supernumerary phantom limb, but so far there is little scientific evidence to back it up.
For example – dragonkin claim that they suffer from back pain due to the weight of their wings and angels or demons might also experience this. Some animalkin claim that they can see and even move these phantom appendages or body parts which may include paws, feelers, horns, ears, whiskers, and tails.
8 Most People Believe They Just Want Attention
Our initial response when we hear a person talking about having a tail or identifying as a mermaid or a dinosaur (yes extinctkin is also a thing) is generally misbelief. To us, it sounds like delusions and we usually associate those with some type of mental illness. To many of us, these seem like people who are so dissatisfied with being one of 7.5 billion humans that they would rather live in a fantasy world where they are special and unique. We might even be able to have sympathy for someone like this as we understand that mental illness is not something they can choose.
But many people believe that the underlying desire of most otherkins is simply attention and that they are prepared to go to whatever bizarre length is required to get it.
7 We Might Have (Unknowingly) Created This Subculture
Until not so long ago, being different was considered a bad thing. We lived in a society where the norms were strictly observed and "deviations", such as homosexuality, were regarded as unacceptable. Being the same was good; being different was not.
But then we experienced the rise (and rise and rise) of individuality. We started telling people that they could be different – that they could be whatever they wanted to be and in terms of gender and sexuality equality this was a necessary change, but as you can tell it also opened up doors that couldn’t be shut again. We told people that they could be anything and that no-one was allowed to judge them for it and they chose to be creatures from another universe. I don’t think we saw that one coming!
6 They Grew From Online Elven Communities In The 90s
It should come as no surprise that the dawn of the internet also gave birth to this subculture. Because before then, people may have felt as though they were different, but without the anonymity and reach of the internet they would have had a difficult time finding other people who felt the same way, and perhaps more importantly, accepted them their ideas.
The otherkin subculture dates back to the early to mid-1990s and grew out of elven online communities. These types of groups were initially created for fans as fantasy roleplay, but slowly developed a following of folks who believed they were in fact fully, or part, mythological beings.
Today there are many websites and groups dedicated to otherkin – mostly on Tumblr (no surprises there).
5 How They Become Otherkin
Many young people feel that they can’t find their place in the world and that they can’t fit in. But how do people go from feeling like that to believing that they are not even human? Well according to the online otherkin community this is called awakening.
Awakening (according to them) begins with uncomfortable feelings about being born in the wrong body and may be accompanied by strange dreams, thoughts, memories and even sensations. Many folks who identify as otherkin will tell you that they “always knew they were different”.
From there all that is left for them to do is to “accept” their non-humanness and embrace their otherkin persona. And when they need help with this they usually turn to Tumblr where questions like “I think I’m a mermaid/dragon/fern, what now?” are common.
4 They Can Have As Many Kintypes As They Want
In the otherkin subculture basically anything goes, and if you can’t quite decide which kin you’d rather be, that’s no problem. You can have as many personas as you like and they can change fluidly too.
A person who claims to be multikin or polykin might identify mainly as one type of non-human but may also feel that spiritually they contain other creatures or entities as well.
And if you think it can’t get any weirder than that you’re wrong. There’s another type of otherkin that I haven’t mentioned yet. This group is called polymorphkin, and they claim that they are humans with the ability to mimic other people’s kintype by, wait for it, changing the form of their souls at will.
Yeah. Try wrapping your mind around that for a moment.
3 They Could Teach Us About Tolerance
As strange as we may find this otherkin subculture to be, they do all seem to have at least one admirable characteristic. All branches of otherkin seem to be completely accepting of one another. In a world as judgmental as the one we live in, this may give us some clues as to why people (especially young people) would be drawn to such a group. After all, isn’t that what we all crave? Acceptance, no matter how quirky we are?
Unless their beliefs are harmful to themselves or those around them, do we really have a right to intervene? One thing otherkin don’t need is hate, they have enough of that already, but many people worry that condoning this type of lifestyle choice could do more damage than good in the long run.
2 They Believe In The Multiverse Theory
To try and understand otherkin beliefs a little better (if such a thing is even possible), we need to understand their view of the universe and how they see themselves in it.
Central to their beliefs is the multiverse theory, which hypothesizes that there are a number of universes (including the one we live in currently) and that these universes (sometimes also known as alternate or parallel universes) comprise of everything that could possibly exist. Their acceptance of this theory allows them to believe that they can be reincarnations of just about anything – including fictional characters – because they believe that they could exist in a world beyond this one.
So you see? Believing you’re a unicorn or Professor Snape doesn’t seem so strange now. Right?
1 They Have A Name For You Non-Believers
We know that in today’s society uniqueness is highly valued, right up there with riches and fame. The more different you can be, the better. The last thing you want to be is boring or ordinary and it seems that this idea could be a huge driving force behind the rise of subcultures like otherkin. Could this be nothing more than a way of coping with the demand to be different – as different as you possibly can? Is this a symptom of our longing to be that special snowflake – completely unlike anything the world has ever seen before?
And if you’ve been wondering if otherkin have a name for us boring old non-believers, you bet they do! To them, we are known as #antikin. Now you know.