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frameacloud: A stylized green dragon person reading a book. (A stylized green dragon person reading a)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Some highlights of what I posted to the Otherkin News Twitter (@otherkinnews) during the last few months.

About otherkin

Vice magazine ran an article about otherkin.

Journal of Language Works published an article on nounself pronouns. Cites the Nonbinary.org wiki and mentions otherkin.

Published in March, the book Youth Cultures in America briefly mentions otherkin.

A review of Danielle Kirby's book Fantasy and Belief, which writes about otherkin.

Due to the anti-transgender bathroom bills in the US during these months, newspapers ran anti-transgender opinion articles. As usual, some tried to undermine transgender people by comparing them to "trans-species." Some writers knew about otherkin, others didn’t. Cissexist hate speech isn’t worth featuring here.

Transhumanism

Cyborg artist Neil Harbisson said at a transhumanist event, "I consider myself a transspecies because I’m adding senses and organs that other species have."

Art and glamourbombs

You know the intro scene in FernGully, with the cave wall covered in handprints from humans and tiny fairies? It's based on some actual cave art, which does feature handprints just like that. The tinier prints weren't human hands. Not fairies, either, though.

The Merrylin Cryptid Museum featured preserved remains of dragons, fairies, and other beings, all created by artist Alex CF. Since it's a hoax-like exhibit, Snopes explained it.

Snopes also had to address a viral photo of baby dragons being reintroduced to Wales, which originated as a Photoshop contest winner.

2015 Digest

Jan. 3rd, 2016 11:56 am
frameacloud: A stylized green dragon person reading a book. (A stylized green dragon person reading a)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Briefly, some news of interest to otherkin from 2015 that I haven't previously reported on this blog. In chronological order:

Read more... )

I have an idea for how I could run this blog in a way that I hope would be efficient enough to be manageable. I could post to our Twitter about news articles as soon as I find them. Then, at the end of each month, I could post a digest to here and to our Tumblr. It would just be a collection of headlines, links, and brief summaries, rather than whole articles of original writing with complete citations. What do you think?

As always, there's a lot of news out there and I can't do this alone, so anyone who can help out by posting news links in this blog as they find them would be very much appreciated.
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: None.

April. An article published in New Media & Society briefly mentions otherkin. The article is primarily about social networking sites such as Tumblr and Reddit, particularly the asexual community. Renninger quotes from a thread on Reddit that mocks otherkin. I don't have access to the full text of the article, so I don't know if it says any more about otherkin.

Source

Bryce J. Renninger. "“Where I can be myself … where I can speak my mind” : Networked counterpublics in a polymedia environment." New Media & Society (April 2014). http://nms.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/04/09/1461444814530095.abstract doi: 10.1177/1461444814530095
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: None. A linked article talks about animal suffering.

Several articles in Transgender Studies Quarterly used keywords of interest: trans-species and tranimal.

Lindsay Kelley's article "Tranimals" notes that "The term tranimals debuted at the 2009 annual meeting of the Society for Science, Literature, and Art panel 'TRANimalS: Theorizing the Trans- in Zoontology' (Kelley and Hayward 2009)" (p. 227).

In "Transxenoestrogenesis," Eva Hayward talks about the problem of the animal source of some forms of exogenous hormone therapy. Hayward observes, "historically, human bodies hormonally sex-transitioning from male to female have always been trans-species ('tranimal') bodies" (p. 256).

The full text of the journal is freely available online.

Source


TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly 1. 1-2 (May 2014).
http://tsq.dukejournals.org/content/1/1-2
http://tsq.dukejournals.org/content/1/1-2/255.full.pdf
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: none.

May 20 to 28. The newspaper Le Monde (est. 1944) ran an introductory article about otherkin and therianthropes. As the original article is in French, therianthrope Akhila made an English translation of it. The article covers many aspects of the topic, including history. It draws from several print and web sources, as well as interviews.

Sources

Olivier Clairouin. "Pas complètement humains : la vie en ligne des thérians et otherkins." 2014-05-20. Le Monde (online newspaper). http://www.lemonde.fr/cultures-web/article/2014/05/20/pas-completement-humains-la-vie-en-ligne-des-therians-et-otherkins_4410306_4409029.html?xtmc=otherkin&xtcr=1

Olivier Clairouin. Akhila, trans. "Not Completely Human: The Online Life of Therians and Otherkin." 2014-05-28. Beyond Awakening (blog). http://thehornedgate.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/the-online-life-of-therians-and-otherkin/
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: none.

A skeptical Finnish-language blogger wrote an entry that covers some basics about otherkin. Google Translate handles it poorly, so I'm not sure of the article's thesis or attitude.

Source

Ez. "Seikkaluja internetin harhamaassa: oletko sinäkin oikeasti eläin?" May 28, 2014. Tämä Päivä (Today). (Personal blog.) http://tamapaiva.blogspot.fi/2014/05/seikkaluja-internetin-harhamaassa.html
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: None.

May. The academic journal Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research published An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Identity in the Therian Community. This article by Timothy Grivell et al is based on interviews with five therians.
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: None, although it's annoying.

An article published in The Montag journal mistakenly says otherkin originated in Tumblr. Sterling Hall also argues that otherkin are based in "appropriat[ing] the struggles of transgendered [sic] people" (p. 85-88). Hall's claim appears to be based on the Gawker article that drew some of the same connections, but Hall doesn't cite it.

Hall offers no support for the claim that otherkin started on Tumblr. The otherkin community, by the strictest definition (such as the adoption of the term "otherkin"), originated in the year 1990. In the loosest definition, the community started in the 1970s. The otherkin community has always been significantly made up of people who are transgender. For more information, please see the history book that I wrote about the otherkin community.

Source

Sterling Hall, "Beyond critique: An essay on the need for a new discourse." The Montag vol 1 or 2 (March or April 2013). http://www.unr.edu/cla/ch/docs/The-Montag-Volume2.pdf

(Some parts of the volume say that it's Vol 1 from March, while other parts say it's Vol 2 from April. I'm not certain whether The Montag is technically an academic journal. It says that it is, but it doesn't look right.)
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warning: The Huffington Post article is about cissexism, gender dysphoria, suicide, and mental illness.

2013-12-08. In Brynn Tannehill's good article Myths about gender confirmation surgery, Tannehill pointed out problems with drawing an analogy between transsexuality and identifying as a cat.
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: None.

October: Corvus-onca wrote an article titled "On public behaviours," about what it is like to be a therianthrope as well as transgender and autistic. Corvus-onca's article focuses on expression of those parts of his identity through body language.

Source


Corvus-onca, "On public behaviours." 2013-10-03. Corvus onca sapien (personal blog). http://corvus-onca.tumblr.com/post/62988440853/on-public-behaviours
(Corvus-onca granted me permission to link to that article.)
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: Cissexism.

October: An animated sit-com called Family Guy included a skit that parodied trans people by having a main character get "reassignment surgery" to become a lizard. An otherkin named DLF reports that this scene was in "Season 12, Episode 2, titled Vestigial Peter," and gives a transcript of the scene. A few people in the otherkin community wondered if this scene was a reference to otherkin. I'm confident that the writers weren't making a reference to therianthropes or otherkin, because the analogy the writers were making is common in cissexist jokes. Cissexist people often try to parody and undermine transsexuality by comparing it to a straw-man scenario in which a person mimics or tries to become another species.

I've seen much more offensive iterations of that tired joke than that. The most offensive one I've seen is the satirical article "Transspecied dog bites man is not news," which Jared Olar published simultaneously to Pekin Times (and several other newspapers) last March. Olar's mean-spirited and cissexist article is about a fictional six year old boy who wants to become a dog. It is supposed to be ridiculous that adults take the child seriously by speaking of the child as "transspecied," and giving him a "social transition," which includes switching to the pronoun "it." The article parodies the situation of a non-fictional young trans girl who became famous around that time, to whom Olar refers by name. Olar uses the "transspecied dog" to suggest that trans children are probably just playing make-believe, and are too young to know how they identify. I'm confident that Olar had not heard of therianthropes, otherkin, or animal people. It looks like Olar just invented the "transspecied dog" as a straw-man to pick at what Olar believes to be flaws in arguments for the legitimacy of transsexuality.



Sources


DLF (justanotherkin), untitled post. 2013-10-09. Just Anotherkin (personal blog). http://justanotherkin.tumblr.com/post/63560415302/what-episode-of-family-guy-was-that-did-it-actually
(I linked to that post with permission from DLF.)

Jared Olar, "Transspecied dog bites man is not news." 2013-03-03. Pekin Times. http://www.pekintimes.com/article/20130303/OPINION/130309948/1001/NEWS
(Warning: lots of pop-up ads, some of which even got through my ad-blockers.)
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: For this article, comparison between therianthropes and transgender people. The horror novel in question has scenes of very graphic violence.

August: Prolific writer Adam Pfeffer self-published a book titled The Incredible Tiger-Man. It’s a horror novel about a cursed man who physically shape-shifts into a tiger and kills people. In the introduction, Pfeffer compares the fictional hero's situation to some of the beliefs in the non-fictional world about animal shape-shifters. In this, Pfeffer mentioned real people who identify as therianthropes:

“Some say a person identifying with an animal is somewhat similar to gender dysphoria and transsexuality, and is known as species dysphoria and transspeciesism. The species of non-human animal with which a therian identifies with is called that person’s theriotype or phenotype” (Pfeffer, p. ix)


Pfeffer is familiar with the real therianthrope community’s jargon, and uses it correctly. If Pfeffer was involved in the therian community, he doesn’t mention it here. This is the only mention of therianthropes or any of those terms in Pfeffer’s book.

Source


Adam Pfeffer, The Incredible Tiger-Man. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse, 2013.
The selection in question is visible in Google Books:
http://books.google.com/books?id=UTGmAAAAQBAJ&pg=PP10&dq=dysphoria+tiger-man&hl=en&sa=X&ei=8sI1Uv68IYK_igLi-IHgBg&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: Implicit comparison between therianthropy and transsexuality.

August: A wolf therianthrope named Susitar published a short article in a Swedish-language feminist online magazine. The August issue’s theme was “The body,” and the editors had called at a Pride festival for articles from young queer people. The article is about Susitar’s experiences with species dysphoria. For more information, see Susitar’s post on the Werelist forum about it.

- O. Scribner



Source


Susitar (Lanina), “Personal text about species dysphoria published.” 2013-08-15. The Werelist: A therianthrope community resource (forum). http://www.werelist.net/forums/showthread.php?t=33216

Susitar Lykantrophona, “Hyfsat snygg för att vara apa (Pretty good looking for an ape.)” 2013-08. Ballers: Feministiskt Livsstilsmagasin (online magazine). http://ballers.se/2013/08/15/hyfsat-snygg-for-att-vara-apa/ Automatic translation into English, beware of translation errors: http://translate.google.se/translate?sl=sv&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=sv&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fballers.se%2F2013%2F08%2F15%2Fhyfsat-snygg-for-att-vara-apa%2F&act=url

Posted with permission from Susitar. Thank you, Susitar.
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: Transgender transition (not graphic). Extreme body modifications (not graphic).

August 5: An advice blog for trans men, The Art of Transliness, answered a question regarding the difference between a transgender person's transition (hormone replacement therapy and gender-confirming surgeries) vs. the extreme body modifications of the Cat Lady.

Source


Zak and anonymous, Untitled post. 2013-08-05. The Art of Transliness (blog). http://theartoftransliness.com/post/60407878804/hey-youre-great-my-pops-a-pretty-smart-older-adult
[identity profile] jarandhel.livejournal.com
There’s a new art exhibit entitled otherkin at the Julius Cæsar Gallery in Chicago, from September 8-29th.  It’s an 11 minute video that is apparently about us:

Chris Naka The artist debuts an eleven-minute video, titled “Otherkin,” about post-, neo- and non-humans (or, rather, humans that self-identify as such). Otherkin communities are largely formed online, although the concept of the hybrid human being is also relevant to queer and trans identities. Naka locates the greatest and strangest expression of otherkin in virtual spaces, especially ones experienced through a screen. “These days everyone is obsessed with death,” says one of the video’s characters, and the mood permeates the artwork. Opening reception: Sunday, September 8, 2pm-5pm. Julius Caesar, 3311 West Carroll.

That’s all the info I have, I don’t know what the video entails beyond that description or if it’s in any way an accurate depiction of us or our communities.

frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: For this post, as well as for the podcast itself: much about spirituality. Mild ableism. Questions about how being otherkin compares with being transgender. Some additional content warnings for the podcast only: Brief mild adult humor. Brief mentions of drugs. Brief mentions of alcohol.

Summary: A furry podcast interviewed a therian wolf who claims to practice an ancient animal-based faith, and an otherkin dragon who expresses himself through fur-suiting.



August 25: Fur What It’s Worth, a podcast series that is “an introduction and immersion into the furry fandom,” interviewed a therianthrope and an otherkin. In the "Therians & Otherkin" episode, the hosts say they are completely unfamiliar with therianthropy, but somewhat familiar with otherkin. The hosts’ attitudes are respectful, easygoing, interested, and friendly. There’s no transcript, so I’ll summarize the relevant parts of the podcast, using direct quotes whenever possible.

The interview with an therianthrope starts at 8:00 and concludes at 31:41. The therianthrope is Wolf (which is his legal name), 51, is very active in the furry fandom. He attends furry conventions, and is a published author of furry fiction.

Wolf calls himself a therian deist, which he says is an ancient pre-Babylonian (and therefore prehistoric) spiritual faith. He says that in that “faith,” humans are considered the highest animals, and try to learn from animals how to be better humans, by mimicking the virtues of animals. He claims that Catholics called practitioners of this spiritual tradition “lycans.” Wolf says that the biggest misconception about therians is that they are shape-shifters, which he says is a belief of Catholic origin. He says some therians have spiritual connections to animal totems. He says he and a group of other therians are in the process of gathering supplies to build a spiritual retreat for therians “of like faith.” He denies that it’s a temple. He says the faith is based around “breaking the three animal rules: 1) Me first. 2) Pack (family) second. 3) Everyone else.” In therian deism, one tries to “become a better human,” and “better than the animals,” by reversing the order of these rules. He looks at this in context with worship of animal gods and guides around the world.

Wolf mentions that some therians think of themselves as animals in spirit, but otherwise he doesn’t refer to therianthropy as an identity at all, but as a “faith.” The therian faith he describes is not something that I have seen in the therian community. He doesn’t seem to be talking about the same thing as they are at all. I haven’t heard the phrase “therian deist” before, and Googling it (with quotes) only brings up eight results, where it’s used by this same Wolf. Despite Wolf’s claims, it appears that this “ancient faith” is something he invented. The slang “lycans” is a sign that influence from pop fiction is involved. Inventing one’s own spirituality is fine, even with pop culture influences, but when people claim that new spiritualities are ancient, I consider it my duty as a historian to question those claims.

The interview with an otherkin starts at 36:44 and concludes at 1:02:40. This interview is with YuuRyuu, a dragon otherkin. This is YuuRyuu’s second interview on Fur What It’s Worth. YuuRyuu speaks of his dragon self as a “character,” and says he developed his own species of dragon. He’s been very active in the furry fandom for four years.

YuuRyuu gives the usual definitions for otherkin and its difference from therianthropes. When asked to define what otherkin means to him, YuuRyuu said there’s a lot of variety in how people define it. For himself, he explained that when he was a small child, he consciously knew that his reflection in the mirror was him, but subconsciously felt it was wrong. He’d prefer to see a dragon. Wearing a fur-suit (animal costume) of his dragon character makes that possible, which gives him a sense of mental release from the tension of feeling that his reflection is wrong. He’s not aware of any other specific otherkin who use fur-suits that way. For him, being otherkin is “just a quirk in my brain,” not something he can explain. He grew up having “a disconnect between what I looked like and what my brain wanted to see.” He says he’s experienced phantom limbs only after wearing the fur-suit for a while.

The host asks, “Are you a human who has a spirit of a dragon, or are you a dragon?” YuuRyuu replies, “I am a dragon. It is totally mental. I don’t believe in spirits or anything like that.” As such, he hasn’t personally experienced some of the paranormal phenomena that the hosts had heard of as linked with otherkin. He says he’d initially been hesitant to call himself otherkin, saying he was “borderline otherkin. … I don’t want people to think I’m crazy, but I want to be honest with myself.” After deciding to simply call himself otherkin, he hasn’t had any troubling reactions from people about it. He and the hosts agree that one of the good things about the furry community is that it’s so accepting. People in the furry fandom don’t get upset over hearing of one another’s unusual personal quirks.

The hosts ask YuuRyuu how being otherkin compares to being transgender. YuuRyuu says he’s been timid to consider the similarities, not wanting to offend anyone, but he does think the mirror experience is similar. He says he feels more confident about the analogy after reading some points made by a transgender furry interviewee. I recognize his description of Kotaku’s interview with illustrator Egypt Urnash, which I summarized in an earlier Otherkin News article.

Both interviews were conducted gracefully, and their contents were insightful and interesting. Wolf described a unique animal-based faith, and YuuRyuu gave an example of why an otherkin enjoys activities associated with the furry fandom.



Sources


Roo and Tugs, “S3 Episode 6 – Therian & Otherkin.” Fur What It’s Worth (blog) 2013-08-25. http://www.furwhatitsworth.com/?p=2029

Roo and Tugs, “Therians & Otherkin.” Fur What It’s Worth (podcast audio) 2013-08-25 (series 3, episode 6). Accessed 2013-08-31.
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings: For this article: Publicity. Comparison between transgender and otherkin identities. For the linked article: sexual assault, and many politically inflammatory topics.

2013: An academic journal article briefly mentioned otherkin. It didn’t do new research on them. They weren't the focus of the article.

In the Journal of the Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA-PGN), Networking Knowledge, Lenore Bell published an article titled “Trigger Warnings: Sex, Lies and Social Justice Utopia on Tumblr.” (Here’s the abstract, which includes a link to the full text PDF. No login needed.) The focus of the article isn’t on otherkin, but on participants of Tumblr who are involved in social justice activism.

Bell includes a few paragraphs about otherkin, using them as an example of some of the unusual kinds of identifications of participants of Tumblr. For this, Bell quotes from a personal blogger's opinion on Tumblr regarding otherkin, and from the 2012 Gawker article about otherkin. Both of these compare otherkin and transgender identity.



Source


Lenore Bell, “Trigger warnings: Sex, lies and social justice utopia on Tumblr.” Networking Knowledge 6, no. 1 (2013). http://ojs.meccsa.org.uk/index.php/netknow/article/view/296
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
(The linked article lists its own trigger warnings.)

August: A trans woman and otherkin in the otherkin community named Jewelfox wrote an essay titled "Why trans* people hate otherkin (and otherkin hate fictives)." Jewelfox explains that why people who have unusual identities tend to disparage other kinds of unusual identities, and why that doesn't help them the way they think it does. She argues that although they're trying to defend their own legitimacy, they're unknowingly supporting the system that oppresses them, in vain hope to get mercy from it.

You can read the whole article. There are good insights in the comments, and on this other post about the essay.



Source


Jewelfox, "Why trans* people hate otherkin (and otherkin hate fictives)." 2013-08-07. Jewelfox. http://jewelfox.dreamwidth.org/2013/08/07/why-trans-people-hate-otherkin.html
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings: Mentions of sexuality and occult spirituality. The linked webpages include some photos of people who are clothed but sexual, and so may be considered not safe for work.

The free alternative newspaper of the Capital Region of New York State, Metroland, recently ran an interview1 with fine artist2 Jason Martin, of Power Animal Systems. Martin performs music while costumed as an human-like wolf in a tight silver space suit, a “sexy spacewolf warrior,”3 one of a trio of such animal-masked performers.

Martin emphasizes that his artwork is a spiritual performance, involving supernatural entities that have appeared to him since his early childhood. In the interview, Martin said of his band, “It spoke to a lot of young people […] People inclined toward alternative lifestyle or ‘queerness’ got it right away. Everytime I put on one of these costumes, it’s not zentai, it’s not cosplay, it’s not furry, it’s not role playing […] It’s channeling entities. They’re real as individuals but also representations of all this encoded information, only a small percentage of which I understand.”4 The performances have more spiritual depth than simply wearing animal costumes for entertainment.

In his artist’s statement, Martin explains that Power Animal Systems “engages species-queer paganistic animism […] rituals, conjuring mysterious energies, removing anthropomorphism from its harmless, cartoon usage and connecting it to less safe, more real, quasi-mythical archetypes with Jungian undertones and erotic juxtapositions.”5 I’ve never encountered the phrase “species-queer” before… Google shows about 2100 results for it, so it’s had some use.

The Power Animal Systems had been booked to perform with Lady Gaga this spring, but that tour was cancelled.6


Sources


1. Josh Potter, “Into the third dimension.” 2013-02-28. Metroland. http://metroland.net/2013/02/28/into-the-third-dimension
2. Jason Martin, “Bio.” http://jasonmartinwebsite.com/bio.html
3. Potter.
4. Ibid.
5. Martin.
6. Potter.

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