The concept of “otherkin,” which represents a new facet of LGBTQ+++ identities, pushes the boundaries of typical societal notions. As reported by Vice, a currently struggling Social Justice media outlet, this concept delves into unconventional spirituality, which some see as a reaction to the decline of traditional religious beliefs in the West.
Interestingly, many such identities seemingly borrow elements from religious terminologies, seen by some as a way to fill the spiritual void left by the decline of traditional faith. The Amish or Quakers, for example, who have found meaning in their existing identities and beliefs, are arguably unlikely to subscribe to “otherkin,” especially since they aren’t regularly exposed to such ideas through social media.
“I feel my selfhood to be discrete from this body. It’s not inherently me—it’s just a vehicle I’m operating. Plus, what does it mean to be human, anyway?”
Riviera identifies as a dragon. He decided this 15 years ago after having what he describes as prophetic dreams of a past life. As an “otherkin,” he is one of the hundreds of Australians who identify as another species—whether from Earth or myth.
Sitting on the grass outside the University of Melbourne, Riviera shows me a large handmade magpie head. “I feel like there is a mix up between otherkins and furries in the media,” he says. “For many otherkin, it’s a quiet spiritual background to their lives, and not something that they can ever switch off.” He puts on an elaborate headdress, explaining that making and wearing costumes is a central part of acting out of his identity. Meditation, ritual dance, lucid dreaming, and trance work also factor in.
Vice further illustrates the correlation between more conventional forms of transgender identity and the so-called “trans-species community.” As part of this concept, an otherkin who identifies as a bird discusses her experiences with a condition termed “wing dysphoria.” She compares her perception of phantom wings to the “phantom limb” sensation often reported by amputees.
The debate between transgenderism and otherkin is one area Miranda would like to see evolve. “It seems that many people of the transgender community think that otherkin is a mock version of transgenderism and are very hateful of it,” she says. “This is not the case for us of course, as many of us are in the LGBT+ community.”
Riviera, who is both otherkin and transgender, says the “raging debate where people think that otherkin are appropriating transgenderism is something that I find a little bit frustrating being trans myself.
The Social Justice community has also begun using unique relationship terminology, like “nesting partners,” to describe significant others. This term reportedly reflects the woman’s view on polygamous relationships, where she refrains from prioritizing any one partner over another in her relationship hierarchy.
This person sometimes identifies as an animal and not a human and suffers from “wing dysphoria” pic.twitter.com/BzHFzRpqZo
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) July 25, 2023