This is something I have been meaning to write for a good long time, but have struggled to find motivation and clarity to write it before now.
I am not human.
And I don’t mean this just in the sense of my spirit is not human, or my mind works in ways that feel inhuman, I mean that I am nonhuman in my whole being. Unapologetically. In almost every refutation of misinformation from anti-kin, one will find “we all know we’re human!” in infinite variation. Even to the degree of “those who physically identify as nonhuman are not otherkin.” I understand where the sentiment comes from, considering we constantly struggle to keep p-shifters out and refute ideas that clinical lycanthropy is the same as what we experience. But there comes a point where I have to wonder if we've internalized this in a way that means we don’t take being nonhuman seriously. And I propose that perhaps viewing yourself as "physically nonhuman" doesn't mean the same thing as "I am not Homo sapiens."
I see it a lot in the idea that ‘species dysphoria’ is a transphobic way to describe the discomfort and distress of your body not matching your perceived species and body map, and in refutations that it exists at all. I see it in every “all otherkin know they’re really human” and especially in “being human is part of being otherkin.” I see it in forced human positivity posts, urging people to “accept that you’re human now and learn to love what your human body can do!” and in “Whatever you once were, you’re a human now, and you can’t let being kin become your life.”
And don’t get me wrong. I understand where all of these things come from. I understand that there’s variety of experience. But I also see this being pushed on others as the respectable way to be otherkin. The way where it isn't a huge part of your life, doesn't overlap with gender or orientation or any other part of your identity, doesn't cause you distress when called human, doesn't lead you to present in a genuinely nonhuman way, and especially doesn't lead you to call your body not human.
But here I am. I've been almost a decade in this community. I've held the perspectives in the past that have come to leave me out and make me consider how people really view our experiences. And they've changed. I’m not a ‘respectable’ nonhuman. I call my body nonhuman because my experience of self and world is nonhuman. Because I am not human, and this being my body, neither is it. I compare it to my trans experience in that way--the linguistic dysphoria is the same. I know what my body looks like, but what I call it is going to reflect how I view and experience it, not how you or anyone else does. And that deserves to be respected as much as anything else.
In fact, my nonhumanity is part of my transness, and the dysphoria I experience from both things can and has been linked. How does a thing that is not human experience and relate to a uniquely human idea of gender? Awkwardly. Or not at all. Or it refuses. I use “it” pronouns for about the same reason, and as part of combating that linguistic dysphoria. (But remember, no otherkin uses pronouns based on their kintype, right?)
Perhaps more drastically, in my case, is the desire for species modification. I have begun to and will continue to take steps to present myself as more physically nonhuman-looking. I plan very seriously on having my ears pointed. I will build digitigrade stilts to make up for the lack of paw-feet that I feel need to be there more than anything else. I may yet have dental work done. And above all, I continue to look for more ways to become comfortably less-human as part of my androgyny--to make people ask “what the hell is it?” on more than one level.
Im not human because “human” means so much more than just being a member of the species Homo sapiens. How can something be “subhuman” or “more than human” if that’s the case? How can we “dehumanize” someone, and what does that mean? Why does being “human” equal being compassionate, kind, relatable, and “inhuman” equal monstrous, evil, sadistic. If we spend so much time wondering “what does it mean to be human,” why can I not spend just as much time wondering what it means not to be? When I feel entirely alienated from the cultures, histories, values, experiences, or ideas of humans--even of groups of humans I should technically belong to--why should I be forced to call myself one of them and return to feeling alone and entirely unwelcome?