Quick 'N Dirty Nonhuman FAQ
So you want to know what all this is about. Maybe you've seen some people around with 'therian' in their bio, or you've seen someone talk about past lives, or god forbid you've stumbled on some people using the word 'kinnie'.
So now you're confused. Perhaps frightened or weirded out. But you want to know more. And so here you are. This guide is designed for you.
The first thing to establish is that you have happened upon the wild world of alterhumanity. Congrats!
Alterhumanity is a very wide umbrella of experiences that all involve having an identity that is 'alternative' to humanity. This can include being more than one person in a body, being a nonhuman entity with a physically human body, identifying very strongly with a nonhuman entity, identifying as a fictional entity, and many other things. This FAQ will focus on the portions of the Alterhuman Umbrella that cover nonhumanity. There is a seperate FAQ for plurality [HERE] which is also under the alterhuman umbrella. This FAQ is nonexhaustive and is meant as a taster, not as a all-in-one resource. Other people have done that. Check the other links in the 'Nonhuman Resources' tab.
There are many identities that have specific meanings, such as 'therian' or 'fictionkin' or 'copinglink', many of which having their own seperate communities and community history. Some terms may overlap because many were made independently of each other in seperate closed communities.
Being alterhuman is not simply roleplaying or just relating to a thing, but an identity integral to our sense of self.
Common Alterhuman Labels/Terms and Their Defintions
This is by no means every alterhuman term, but these are some of the more common ones you may see.
Alterbeing- means what Alterhuman means but deemphasizes the human part for those who do not consider themselves human.
Therian- A person who identifies AS a nonhuman animal, in part or in whole. Various subtypes include but are not limited to fictherians (identifying as a fictional animal) and theriomythic (identifying as a mythical animal). The specific identity is called a theriotype.
Otherkin[d]- a person who identifies AS a nonhuman entity, in part or in whole. Traditionally involving mythical animals as well as creatures like demons, elves, and other traditionally sentient nonhuman creatures. Often used as a blanket term for any nonhuman, though not all nonhumans identify as such. The specific identity is called a kintype.
Fictionkin[d]- a person who identifies as a fictional species or character from modern media, in part or in whole. Used to be called mediakin and otakukin. Fictionkind do not nessesarily have a nonhuman kintype, but are considered alterhuman regardless for similarities in alternative experiences. Used to be called otakukin. The specific identity is called a kintype.
Otherlink- An identity as a nonhuman or fictional entity that is chosen and deliberately cultivated and may be dropped at will. If for coping, this its also called a copinglink.
-Hearted- A person who identifies WITH a entity (fictional or nonhuman) wholly or partially on an intergral level. Similar terms include -kith and sympath. Sympath is often used for identifying with fictional characters more often than -hearted and -kith.
Voidpunk- A counterculture movement around reclaiming dehumanization, usually involves identifying as nonhuman in some way and can be nonspecific in a way many of these identities are not.
Shifting- The act of feeling, sensing, or experiencing having traits related to their nonhuman identity. Types of shifting include but are not limited to mental shifting- where one feels mentally more like their nonhuman self, and phantom shifting(also called phantom or supernumerary limbs)- where one feels like they have body parts of their nonhuman identity(such as tails, wings, etc) despite not actually having such.
Noema/Noemata- the not-quite memories gotten from a kintype. Does not inherently involve spiritual beleifs or beleived origin of nonhumanity. Also called 'knowings' or 'kin memories'.
Species Dysphoria- discomfort, dissatisfaction, and other negative emotions in relation to feeling like the body is the wrong species. Not all nonhumans experience species dysphoria, but many do.
Transspecies- a person who specifically wishes to transition, socially or physcially, into another species. Usually connotates the desire to obtain body modification(permanant or not) or having already done so in relation to this.
KFF(Kin for fun)- People using 'kin' to mean just heavily relating to a character or nonhuman entity, often in a joking, ironic, trolling, or aesthetic sort of way. This is a chosen, nonserious identity, hence the 'for fun'. KFFs are unaffiliated with actual nonhuman communities and often actively resist any attempts to educate them on the meaning of the terms they have apropriated. Many openly admit their identities are 'a joke' or 'just for fun unlike those real crazies who take this seriously' while they clog up our tags and give people misinformation. They tend to call themselves 'kinnies', a derogatory term popularized by trolls for otherkin, though not all people who use this term are KFF. 'Wishkin' and 'Fluff' are old terms for similar behavior but are considered rude due to negative connotations.
'This is a delusion! You're all crazy!' - A delusion has a very specific meaning and this is not inherently that. While some alterhumans/alterbeings attribute their identity to a delusion and are fully welcome in the community, not all do. Something being a delusion does not mean that it is harmful or bad.
'Otherkin are all roleplayers' - This is very specifically not roleplaying, this is genuine integral identfication. Anyone who tells you otherwise is confused or lying.
'Otherkin are all children' - Many otherkin are older, but visible nonhumans often skew young as people on the internet who show off their whole lives at a glance tend to skew young. Blame no more internet safety talks and facebook. Many otherkin are older, we are just more quiet about it. Even if the community was new and largely children, does it make it any less important? Any less heartfelt?
'You can only have one kintype' - Nope, you can identify as more than one thing the same way you can be say, Russian and Turkish. Its good to question these things strongly to be sure it really fits you, but you can 100% have more than one thing you identify as.
'Its a kink, you just want to fuck animals' - This is the act of identifying as an animal. No correlation to animal abuse. Accusations to a predominatiely neurodiverse and queer community of sex crimes is predictable. Also kink is value neutral and not abuse, unlike beastality.
'You're just furries trying to be special!' - Many of us ARE furries, yes. And many furries are alterhuman, but being a furry just involves having an appreciation of anthropormorphic animals. Thats it. This is something else.
'You're apropriating trans people's struggles!' - Many of us are trans and no we aren't. Dysphoria as a word isn't owned by trans folks alone.
'Alterhumans are all religious/all psychological' - No. There are many schools of thought on origins, and there is no consensus. Individual forums may have had specific generally accepted notions to extablish harmony (such as multiverse being a thing so that 'doubles' wouldn't have to fight), but this is not community wide and was never the explination for all under a specific label.
'This is a cult' - It cannot be denied that some spaces and groups are/were cultlike, but the belief itself is not. Cults require a very specific set of parameters, and just having a non-normative belief that you find too 'woo'-ey isn't it.
'Fictionkin existing is copyright infringment' - ...No? They are not claiming to own their art and their words, they are saying they identify in a way that is uncannily similar to a bit of media that already exists. Their lives are/were a strange echo that by coincience, is like that of the thing. It makes it difficult to talk about their experiences, as copywright laws are ass half the time, but they are not 'stealing' a media by existing.
*anything about p-shifting* - Actually physically shapechanging into your nonhuman identity in real life is not possible, anyone claiming so is either misinformed or a troll at best, and part of a cult or otheriwse actively malicious at worst. Do not debate or entertain p-shifters.
'KFFs are the NORMAL kin, the rest of you take it too seriously!' - No they are appropriating our community. They have taken our words and even when we tell them what it actually means and suggest to them communities that fit better with their identity and needs, they refuse to stop spreading mininformation and derisive comments that cause our communities harm. We can only hope that the 'kinnies' divorce so far from otherkin that they can't damage our spaces anymore.
*Anything about being oppressed for being kin* - Otherkin(and other nonhuman identities) aren't oppressed for being nonhuman. We are not oppressed specifically for being kin. People are shit to us, but its a mismash of anti religious sentiment, queerphobia, ableism and saneism, etc. Oppression requires a systemic structure against the thing. There is no systemic structure against alterhumans. Bias, yes. Bigotry, yes. Systemic Oppression? No.
*Anything else that is troll behavior* - 'Otherkin' isn't a gender or sexuality, though some trans people may describe their nonbinary gender with their kintype or pick pronouns reflective of their nonhuman identity. No, if you have a kintype of a villianous character you don't have an excuse to be an asshole. In general, if it sounds too silly (ie- 'toilet kin' or 'my gender is an attack hellicopter') its probably(but not always) a troll.
In conclusion, we alterhumans are just vibing over here. There is no need to be alarmed, we are just experiencing life different than you and talking about it. Some of us have weird beleifs, some of us have weird brains, some of us are just a critter. You don't have to understand it to be kind about it, though we hope this shed some light on it all for you.