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Gender among the nonhumans

Alright so preface, I am trans. I am non-binary if you are also trans and disagree with what I'm saying here feel free to voice that opinion.

We've all heard it a million times, that species dysphoria is not gender dysphoria and otherkin are not systematically oppressed. Absolutely. Keeping that straight in the minds of new otherkin and outsiders alike is essential. But just amongst us who already have that down, I'd like to talk for a minute about identity. The more experience I have with gender, the more I find that it's a construct built around certain expectations, of appearance, of social role, and of alignment with others of that same gender. Under this definition of gender however it does allow for the inclusion of lots of categories not typically recognized as 'genders' to be such. In my wardrobe for example a good chuck of it relates to an emo aesthetic. I like being a part of the emo sub-culture. I like that people affiliate me with the likes of my favorite bands, dark aesthetics and moods. When I wear things like my Tripp pants and wolf t-shirt I want people to see me and remember their own emo phase or someone they knew's. I find these sort of aesthetics more fun to align myself with than 'actual' genders.

Amongst the alterhuman community this sort of represents itself with genders and pronouns based on kintypes. It's a polarizing concept. I' not here to argue for or against it. Personally I don't like pronouns often indicitive of non-personhood (like it) being used on myself nor do I feel the desire to use species based pronouns (like devil/devilself). However as someone who doesn't really align with a human gender I do feel a desire sometimes for a quick referential term so people have the right expectations for me. I was once talking about a friend of mine who is also mythotherian and the person I was talking to asked "Man or a woman?". I fought the urge to say "More like a bear?" They are not bearkin but bears are a good reference for what they're like. You'll picture a big, shaggy furred mammal with sharp canines that enjoys being in the woods and that is a good place to start much like Jennifer Lopez is a good starting point to understand a woman. Gender is referential after all isn't it? It's a nebulous and fuzzy thing centered around a reference. I used to be really into cats especially big cats as a child. I was also into wolves later on. I think I saw myself in these species not necessarily literally, but referentially. I have always identified with big carnivorous mammals. Some otherkin extend this vagueness into their kin types and will either id as a few similarly built species of animal or just an entire category, such as canines.

I think that as much as we'd like to avoid confusion among outsiders about our community and its relationship to gender I also think we cannot totally separate these identity based discussions. Many otherkin have a complex relationship with gender. Some feel unable to truly align with human genders because they are themselves not human. Some even deal with the complexity of having a kintype that's of a different sex or gender than their physical selves. Sometimes, discovering ones non-human identity leads to an uncovering of gender identity and vice-versa. This is one of those situations where talking about our experiences with outsiders may not be the best idea but within the community, however you balance these two points of identity, we should feel free to talk about it.


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