I’m having a hard time with some of the things you’re saying here, Jarin. I am hearing anger and snideness that seem to me to be out of proportion to the idea, and condescension. Some of it reads to me like erasure or “no true Scotsman”. Also there are some contradictions and misrememberings or things that are just incorrect. I don’t want to pick every bit of this thread apart, but…
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?
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.
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).
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?
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.
If you want to just sit and read, relax, play with toys, or especially nap then most people have bedrooms for those things. Devices called telephones generally let one talk to others from there too, if the urge happens to strike them. As for doing those things but feeling “comforted when I know that other people around me understand me”, it seems to suggest that you focus quite a bit on what you think the people around you think about you.
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. 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.)
Most otherkin and therians don’t wear fursuits, bark, or be “obviously animal”. In their own homes, at gathers, anywhere. […] real otherkin *don’t* do these things at their gathers, mini-gathers, or meetups.
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. 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.
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? (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.)
I see it as a variant of special snowflake syndrome, personally: you’re oh so nonhuman you just have to express yourself by fursuiting, barking, etc, nothing else will do.
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?
After 13 years in the community, I’d have a lot more faith in the reality of this supposed “need” if I were seeing it being discussed more places than tumblr. ’cause in 13+ years, the rest of the community hasn’t apparently seen it as a need.
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”.
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.
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