I’ve seen a couple post in the tags now about how “trolls in the tags give us bad press”, and I feel like I should chime...
Imagine you’re building a house. You’ve been working on it for ages, for years even. And before you, others came and added to it, bit by bit.
How to “call people out” by the Otherkin tag:
Hey, I can understand that. The tumblr otherkin community consists of crazies
and a small handful of paedos
I would like to clarify a few things, before I continue my regular blogging.
First things first, I don’t hate otherkin. I completely believe in...
There’s also a difference between being able to be yourself, and needing to make everyone around you aware of exactly what that self is every second you’re in public.
People of all sorts of religions, cultures, and subcultures wear clothing or accessories or engage in activities in public that visibly identify what they are and make others around them aware of it. Why should otherkin not be allowed?
For the same reason that SCA folks don’t go in full garb to restaurants, Furries don’t go to them in fursuits, BDSM folks don’t go to them in full gear, etc. The BDSM community actually has a phrase for this: non-consensually involving others in their kink. While otherkin/therians are not a kink, I believe the same idea applies: going in “otherkin garb”, whatever that might be, non-consensually involves the public in our spirituality (or whatever the psychological therians might want to term it.) It’s a form of freaking the mundanes.
Many of them also sound like ideas out of Harry Potter or Changeling the Dreaming rather than anything based in reality: hidden upper levels to shops, spaces on the roofs of abandoned buildings, really?
Yes please! And why not? Enchant life! I think we need this kind of dreamstuff, these places and experiences that almost sound like they came out of a fantasy novel. Sacred play has a place. Moar magic, plz.
The reason they sound like they came out of a fantasy novel is that they’re not workable in reality. Abandoned buildings are both dangerous (physically insecure, structurally unsound, etc.) and illegal. Shops with hidden upper levels would require fairly wealthy otherkin to first own a physical shop and second be able to eschew significant space for displaying merchandise or storing stock in order to use it as an otherkin space. To say nothing of the issue that someone trying to run a shop would have with policing access to the otherkin space.
Now, I know there are practical considerations about safety, legality, whatever that mean using abandoned buildings and the like probably is not a good thing to seriously plan and hold up as a community service - but I would have some admiration for anyone who dared to do it anyway (and then, let there be something more “above board” as well).
This is one of the areas where you and I differ: I wouldn’t have an admiration for anyone who “dared to do it anyway”. They’d be foolishly endangering themselves, any others they enticed to come to such a space, and the reputation of the community if they get hurt and/or caught. I don’t find that admirable, in the slightest.
Most people have these things called “friends” for those purposes. No shelters/organizations required.
You’re extremely lucky that you do have that many people nearby. This doesn’t seem to be the case across much of the country, even in highly populated areas. A physical space can facilitate chance meetings between people who might not have otherwise known the other even existed, because they didn’t happen to share a social circle, online space, workplace, school, etc. Sort of a catch-22: you suggest “just get friends for that”, but how?
I was able to meet with friends for this purpose even when I lived in South Jersey and the closest otherkin friend I had was in Baltimore, two hours away. If someone doesn’t have otherkin friends nearby close enough for them to hang out with already, a community center isn’t really going to help. Because if they’re not in the same social circles, online spaces, workplace, school, etc how would they even both find out the community center exists? If they can both find out about the community center, they can both find out about each other’s existence through the same channels.
If there are no otherkin near you for you to simply be friends with, there aren’t likely to be shelters/organizations there either.
But if the location of such a place were known and the person was mobile, they could go travel there even if it were some distance away.
Would you? Community centers, generally speaking, aren’t something that one makes a pilgrimage to. Especially since you’d basically be hoping there would be others there at the same time as you, unless you’d pre-arranged it. Which seems to be moving closer into mini-meet/gather territory than people have wanted to go with this.
Maybe she did mean that (I know I think a lot about what people think about me), but I think she meant something more like “knowing there are other people around who are like me, more or less”, as opposed to feeling isolated.
I realize that’s what she meant. To me, however, that still indicates thinking about what other people think about you. Because when I’m out somewhere, like a public library or a restaurant, you know what? I’m not thinking about whether the people around me are like me, I’m not thinking about whether or not they “understand me” as I believe she phrased it. For the most part, I’m not really thinking about them at all. If that’s what someone’s focus is on, all the time, no wonder they feel like they need a shelter. It’s not people that don’t understand them that are the problem, it’s their own thoughts.
There is also the factor that a dedicated space gains its own certain energy, which may not be the case in someone’s bedroom at home, if they live with people who are not ‘kin. (This is the heart of what I miss about living away from home at university: my living space was all mine to do with as I pleased. Now that is not the case, and as a consequence I feel, as it would seem the people in favor of this “kin space” do, that I have nowhere I can really faery it up if that’s what I want to do.)
That’s kinda one of the other problems, though. It’d be a dedicated otherkin space, but a *shared* space. You might want to “faery it up”, someone else might want to vampire it up, someone else might want to dragon it up, etc etc etc. If you have a non-trivial number of otherkin sharing this space, and it’s trying to be all things for all comers, very quickly it’s not going to be what any of you want. There are really too many vastly different types of otherkin to be able to create a shared space that reflects the energy or preferences of all of them.
I don’t have any specifically animal examples to hand because there didn’t happen to be many therians at gathers I’ve been to, but I think this is simply not true. People (myself included) have definitely worn cloaks, bits of Ren garb, wings, and other things that would be thought of as costumes at Walking the Thresholds and Kinvention North. (Do you remember the pic with me, Cel, and Eyovah running with cloaks on and calling it dragon wings whee flying silliness?) Not everyone did, no, but it was accepted.
I actually put a lot of thought into exactly what I said, and I stand by it. *Most* otherkin did not wear such outfits. Even at Thresholds, in the early days. Much fewer now. Proportionally, I’ve seen more Ren Faire garb worn at pagan gatherings at Four Quarters than I have at Thresholds, overall. Nor do I think it’s a *necessary* way to display one’s kinness.
At Kin North several years there was an event called the Fae Formal: “Come as you REALLY are” was the tagline - active encouragement to dress as your kinself. And I have encouraged bringing such pieces to the gathers I run.
I never made it to any of the Kin Norths - how many would you say attended the Fae Formal aspect of it? And how many have taken you up on it with your gathers?
Given your attitude here I find it confusing that there is to be a “costume closet” at Dreamhaven, and people are encouraged to bring “otherkin wear” because it is a chance to be your “total self”. If you think this is all ridiculous and “most” “real” otherkin don’t do it even at dedicated events like gathers, then why at Dreamhaven?
The “otherkin closet” aspect of Dreamhaven is something that was added by Treefae and her partner. Faehaven is their home, and they have every right to contribute elements to a gather that’s being hosted there. As no one is required to wear such things, I don’t have an issue with it, though I do worry it has the potential to attract more roleplayers than serious otherkin. I will be wearing my normal street clothes, as usual.
(Also I find it ironic and amusing that treefae brought up Faehaven as a potential seed space for just the sort of safe-space under discussion here. Sounds like she likes the idea even if you don’t, heh.)
Sounds like. Given that we’re two different people, even if we are friends, I’m not sure why that’s particularly surprising.
Dress is a powerful way of expressing identity. As I understand it, being able to dress as their true gender and be accepted doing so is a common wish of trans* people. It would sound pretty awful to say to a trans woman, “special snowflake, you’re oh so female you just have to express yourself by wearing a dress, nothing else will do.” Again, why are otherkin not allowed the same?
See, the thing is, in normal society there are already people wearing dresses publicly. Trans-women wish to be included in the class of people allowed to wear dresses publicly. They have every right to do so. Now, consider otherkin: who normally has the right to wear fursuits publicly, or dress as a legolas publicly? Under what circumstances can people do those things and be served at a restaurant? Trans* people are asking for equal treatment. Otherkin wanting the same are asking for special treatment, for a whole class of attire to be added to what is publicly acceptable just for them.
Hrrrmmm, I disagree. I don’t have any examples to link to off the top of my head, but I am pretty sure I’ve seen discussions along these lines, places to go or things to do that make one feel “more elven”… I have some old stuff from sade wolfkitten on my site about just this thing, “dressing the part”.
I was responding specifically to “Not everyone experiences serious dysphoria that means they need to let their self out, or do something more destructive. Some people do.” I haven’t seen many, if indeed any, older otherkin talk about needing to let their other side out through howling, fursuiting, cosplaying, etc lest they be forced to “do something more destructive”. To me that sounds like something requiring psychological help more than a community center.
Now, yes, there are definitely practical concerns with this idea. Funding, insurance, policing, the possibility of vandalism (or worse - some pretty awful things have happened to e.g. pagan bookstores)… all kinds of things. It may be that it’s not a good idea right now because there’s no one or no group really equipped to handle all the logistics. But why not dream a little? Few things get created without someone saying “Hey, what if there was a….” first.
And people have been saying “Hey, what if there was a…” But then they don’t take the next step and actually consider what would happen if there was a… the negatives, as well as the positives. Nor do they take still another step and think, even a little, about how one would go about making a… in the real world, legally, with the funds available to the community (generally quite limited), in such a way that it would actually work.
Yes, let’s dream a little. But remember: “Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible.” Let’s keep our eyes open, and not give in to so much vanity.