|| Neutral Point of View not established (Discuss)
The author(s) of this article have expressed strong impartiality towards specific entities. Efforts to decrease bias should be made to improve the article.
Otherkin are an Internet subculture composed of people who feel they are non-human, either in spirit or (somehow) in biology. They are best described as a unique blend of animal-themed religious beliefs, SJW activism, and pseudoscience.
From a historical standpoint, Otherkin culture can be traced back generations to folklore, especially Asian and European folklore. Stories of shape-changing fey and animal spirits in human form go back centuries, with a wide breadth of work relating to them, ranging from tales in Native American folklore to Greek and Norse mythology. The early Otherkin claim to be a natural evolution of this paradigm, in that they are people who self-identify, spiritually, as non-human entities. Such practices became very common in the early 90s with the evolution of the internet, when the likes of Usenet allowed people to organize themselves for the first time. Though a common internet joke is that Otherkin are predominantly furries, the earliest generations of Otherkin were fantasy fans, who believed, spiritually, they were elves, dwarves, or orcs, for example.
In many cases, such things were purely mental - these people readily acknowledged that they are very much human in body, and as such, Otherkin of this era were, typically, harmless; eccentric, but not worth getting too riled up about - and with good reason. In general, Otherkin were seen as quirky, but not necessarily problematic, the result of people with very active imaginations. In many cases, they were a credit to their communities, since they could help establish rich lore in settings they set up for RPs/RPGs, come up with interesting ideas for video games, and so on.
All of this changed, in due time, with the greater development of internet communities and social networking. In time, Otherkin became less people spiritually identifying as the fantastic and more claiming to actually be something else. Quickly, the terminology became known and adopted by people who adopted the term not because of any actual significance, but because it made them seem interesting or popular - this was especially true on social networks, where one has to seem different and unique to climb the social ladder.
In short order, "spiritually identifying with some other creature" gave way to people claiming outright that they were wolves, or dragons, or so on. Things only got worse from here, as people who misused the term and began to literally claim identity with not just animals and fantastic creatures, but video game characters, television characters, and characters from storybooks. Whilst there's a large number of Otherkin who still cling to the old definition of the term, the broader internet has come to conflate the term with this second category, for they are both louder and more obnoxious.
On Tumblr, modern Otherkin lore has become so absurd that it is outright parodic. Otherkin on Tumblr claim to be television/comic book/literary/video game characters in reality, original creations of their own devices (known as "fictives," and, perhaps most insanely, people who actually exist (known as "factives"). There is considerable overlap with the Multiple System community, which use much the same terminology. Many modern Otherkin claim they are an oppressed class because they dare to identify as non-human, when most sane people readily acknowledge that the bulk of the Otherkin community as it now stands are a group of over-involved individuals, in their late teens to late 20s as a general rule, who adopt the moniker primarily for attention.
Otherkin variously identify as a number of mythical or "cool" sounding creatures stuck in a human's body. Examples include wolves, foxes, dragons, faeries, and the occasional oddball, like a tortoise. They almost never claim to be anything "ordinary" or boring-sounding, such as the reincarnation of a swatted housefly.
Otherkin frequently use sites like Tumblr to self-affirm their identity among likeminded individuals.
Certain otherkin describe their lack of a tail, wolf ears, or faerie wings as a missing organ and often attempt to replicate the experience by wearing various "prosthetics", as if they were missing legs or arms. The typical otherkin "prosthetic" ordinarily takes the form of common furry accessories sold at stores like Hot Topic or Spencer's, or hand-made articles sold on Etsy.
Certain kin types openly mimic what their animal/magical being of choice does, or would do if it had actually existed. This normally results in otherkin engaging in highly unusual behaviour, such as walking on their hands and knees in public or barking at people, under the pretense that it is required of them or in accordance with their nature to do so.
Still others describe themselves as having innate mystical powers that their human body refuses to let them express. These powers are almost always something like levitation/flying, walking through solid objects, interdimensional travel, materialization, and other physically impossible phenomena.
Species dysphoria is a condition in which a person feels that there is a mismatch between their biological species and their species identity.
spide/spides/spiderselfwor/wors/wormself—A list of "insect-themed pronouns"
Otherkin culturally appropriate the transgender movement by mimicing their claims and projecting them onto their own thoughts and desires. On Tumblr, we get to see what it's like when these worlds collide. The result gets reblogged endlessly. Calling an otherkin a "person" is akin to misgenering a transseuxal within their community, having all of the same disastrous implications of any other trigger.
Following in the footsteps of genderqueer people, some also prefer to make up unorthodox pronouns and expect that you call them by whatever they arbitrarily select. Unlike genderqueers however, these people select their pronouns based on their "kinsona".
Jenn, the self-proclaimed tortoisekin, is a veritable hodgepodge of everything SJW-dom has to offer. Not only does she claim to be otherkin, she also claims to be composed of multiple individuals as well as a self-professed "gainer".
During the Cottage Livestream on 23 November 2014, Jace Connors revealed that his mother had "found out I'm a wolfkin". Since then, Jace has repeatedly made references to his "wolf spirit" in Twitter postings and subsequent livestreams.
Catkin and demonkin. Occasional werecat-kin. Satanist SJW who's in a polyamorous relationship with the ghosts of Heath Ledger and Richard Ramirez.