Welcome, to the Alterhuman hub! An off shoot of the Plurality Hub, this Carrd explains everything you need to know about being Otherkin, from the perspective of somebody who is a spiritual kin whos been in the community for over 9 years. We do not believe in gatekeeping, and this serves not to say that peoples personal experiences are false, Or they should change what language they use, but explain the nuances between terms and their meanings, as kinning is an extremely important part of our identity.
Alterhumanity, and being alterhuman, at its root means identifying as something other than a normal plain human. This can be done for a large variety of reasons, including but not limited to spirituality and religion, to coping with mental illness and or trauma. Why somebody is alterhuman shouldn't be a topic of debate, and should be respected as a base aspect of their identity in the same way ones gender would be.
Below is a list of a variety of terms you may see relating to the alterhuman community, and their meanings.
Somebody who identifies as otherkin, otherhearted, or in some way, shape, or form, identifies as nonhuman or outside of the normal human identity.
The thing that you kin. For example, you could say "I am catkin" and "I kin cats, they are my kintype"
An experience in which you mentally shift to the mental state of your kintype. If you are a cat therian, this may lead to you having more cat-like attributes in how you act, or if you're fictionkin your personality may shift more toward your fictionkintype
Kithtype and kith is what otherhearted people call their types. If you identify strongly with something, rather than as it, it could be your kithtype.
Phantom limbs, is the experience of feeling limbs your kintype had, that you do not. For example, feeling a tail or wings. Phantom limbs can be very uncomfortable for otherkin, and can cause distress and physical discomfort.
P-shifting refers to the ability to physically shapeshift into your kintype.
Factkin are people who 'kin' real life people. Often ones who are still alive, and often people who are popular or famous. Factkin and their validity are often debated in kin communities, and the general conclusion is that it is extremely creepy and invasive, and shouldn't be encouraged, though there are some small communities that welcome factkin.
A play on words of 'kin' and 'considering'. This refers to when somebody is considering if something is a kin or not. for example, kinsidering frogs.
a term fictionkin use to refer to somebody who kins from the same 'source' as them, aka the content their kin is from. For example, somebody who kins Karkat may call somebody who kins Dave, a source mate, as they both kin from homestuck.
Canonmates are like source mates, but specifically people from your specific iteration of life. People often try to find canonmates, as they believe their friends may still be out there, and may compare kin memories to see if their memories line up.
Otherkin and fictionkin are the most common way you'll come across kinning.
To be otherkin means, in essence, to identify AS a non human (rather than with. For that, see otherhearted) or something not of this earth (in the case of fictionkin).
Otherkin is often used as an umbrella term, similar to the term 'alterhuman', Though also has its own specific meaning. Unlike Therians, Otherkin when not used as an umbrella term, typically refers to people who identify as non human creatures that are not from this earth. This can include, but is not limited to:
Fictionkin, on the other hand, means identifying with a fictional concept. This can include but is not limited to:
Animals from a fictional book series
Dungeons and Dragons Race's
Sometimes people may fall in between categories, for example if somebody kins a dragon from a specific book series, where they could be either otherkin or fictionkin. At the end of the day, people will use whatever label is most comfortable with them. It is also important to note, that you do not CHOOSE your kintypes. For something you do choose, see: copinglinks
Therians, are a category of Otherkin that are people who kin (aka, identify AS) real creatures from this planet. This can include, but is not limited to:
Essentially, any living creature that is from earth. Therians tend to lean more towards the spiritual side, though not always and somebody may be a therian for a variety of reasons. The base-line idea though is, at it's core, you identify as an animal or earthly critter.
Otherhearted is not kin. It is its own, separate and unique experience from those who identify as kin. Otherhearted describes when you deeply feel connected to a thing. You may strongly identify WITH a thing, but not necessarily AS the thing. The thing may be a comfort character of yours, an animal you feel you have a deep bond with and makes you happy. Those who are otherhearted often refer to their 'types' as heart-types or kithtypes. Some people also take other hearted to mean you are LIKE a thing, but not them. For example, a cat kith may feel like they are very cat like, and have strong bonds to cats as a concept, but do not genuinely believe they ARE a cat, like catkin would.
This distinction is often forgotten and ignored, and kiths are lumped in 1:1 with kin, when that is simply untrue and grossly unrepresents the diversity of both communities.
If you have been considering if you may be kin, but you do not actively identify AS the type, you are likely otherhearted.
Those who are other hearted often do not choose their kithtypes, the same way kinfolks do not choose their kintypes.
Synpaths are another, separate term under the alterhuman umbrella. Synpaths refer to a thing or animal that you feel a deep emotional bond with, or feel immense amounts of connection too. This is often times interchangable for otherhearted, though Synpaths tend to be a little more broad and open for wiggle room. A synpath is something you identify WITH, or feel deeply sympathetic towards to the point of identifying with them. Synpaths tend to be comfort characters, or things related to special interests. Some people may identify as otherhearted, but call their 'types' Synpaths rather than kithtypes, which is also acceptable. This term is a little in the air and tends to be used for a variety of varying experiences, and is a good catch-all if you're unsure how you identify.
Spirituality is an important and prominant aspect in kin spaces. Kinning as a concept, was founded by people who were spiritual Elf kin, and most major kin spaces will be run by spiritual kin.
Spiritual kin tend to lean into either believing in A: Reincarnation, or B: the multiverse theory. Or often times, both.
Spiritual kin who believe in reincarnation, may believe that their kintype was them in a past life, and that they have been reincarnated into a human from their previous kintype. This is especially common among therians, as they identify as earthly creatures.
The second common answer, is the multiverse theory. The multiverse theory has a lot of nuance and intricasies into it, but the basic idea is that there are multiple universes. Some people believe a new universe is created every time a choice is made, and others believe that every universe with every possible option already exists. Kin folks who believe in the multiverse, tend to believe that they were their kintype in another universe, and that it is simply another iteration of them. This is especially common in fictionkin.
Not all kin are spiritual kin, but a majority are. There are also other ways that peoples kintypes may be spiritual in nature, and this is in no way the end all be all of spiritual kins experience. This is just the two most commonly discussed.
Kin folks unfortunately get hit with a lot of controversies, and face a lot of stereotypes. So here is some common ones, and explanations for them.
Plantkin/stepping on grass is racist/etc
This is the most common one and we're astounded it's stuck around. Plantkin, are a completely fine and normal experience, and should not be treated like a joke. The "stepping on grass is racist" joke, came from antikin who wanted an excuse to shame and slander kin folk by making them seem unreasonable. The person who started it was not even a person of colour, and was shown (and openly admitted) to be racefaking.
Tulpamancy / Systems and their relation to Otherkin
There is, in fact, no correlation. Tulpamancy as seen done on tumblr, is the western bastardization of a closed religions practice, and should not be done. The closest that those can do to tulpamancy is thoughtforms, and neither thoughtforms nor systems are in any way related to Otherkin. For more information on systems, see the plurality hub.
"On all levels except physical, I am a wolf" (and other similar jokes)
Jokes like this are frustrating. This joke originated from a documentary based around the otherkin community, where somebody said that line. People immediately took to it, and started making fun of the one who said it to the point it's still often used as a talking point as for why otherkin are strange. The thing is, The woman who made that video openly admitted that she was pressured into doing it, and that she didn't want to. People also used this as an excuse to harass her over the fact that she was a trans woman. All in all, jokes like this are incredibly harmful and should not be spread.
P-shifting / Physical shifting
P-shifting refers to the act of 'physically shifting' to your kintype, or essentially shapeshifting. This is, in no way, possible. There is small but loud communities of otherkin who believe in P-shifting, but there is no reason to believe this ever has been, or ever will be, possible.
"Kinnie is a slur!!"
No, it's not. Some people say that Kinnie was based off the T slur, and that is simply not true. The term Kinnie may have been made by antikin, but regardless many kinfolks proudly use the word for themselves, and anybody claiming the word is a slur should be taken with a grain of salt.
"Kin people are oppressed!!"
No, we're not. This is yet another thing that antikin tend to go on and on about. Most kin folks will agree that otherkin are not oppressed for the fact we are otherkin. Though that being said, otherkin tend to be minorities in other ways. But not because they are kin.
"Otherkin are trying to become a part of the LGBT community!!"
Again, not true. That is, once again, something antikin just started saying one day. Being otherkin does not inherently make somebody LGBT, though many otherkin are LGBT.
Otherkin are delusional/Mentally ill
This is not only incorrect, but also ableist. There is no reason that someone should be called delusional for a perfectly normal belief. The word kin itself dates back to the 1980's, and if focusing on spiritual therians, the concept of being an animal in a past life has been ongoing for thousands of years. There is nothing strange, or wrong with otherkin.
Delusional attachments are, much like systems, completely unrelated to Alterhumanity / The Otherkin community.
Though many people seem to think they're related, and some may also have some overlap so we are including this section to explain the nuances and how it is and is not related to alterhumanity.
A Delusional Attachment (or, DA) is something that is Only experienced by those who experience psychosis. Hence, the word "delusional" in the name. It is when somebody with psychosis believes they are a character as a delusion. This attachment to this character tends to be very intense, and if their validity or identity as this character is questioned, a psychotic episode can be triggered.
Those with DA's do not consider their DA to be in any way separate from them. While most Otherkin can sit back and objectively understand that while they do identify as [x], they are not CURRENTLY [x]. Those with DA's do not have this experience, and tend to think of themselves as the One And Only version of themselves.
DA's and kin are not inherently linked. But if somebody who is otherkin, experiences psychosis, there may be some overlap where somebody has a DA to their kin.
It's important to show respect to those with psychosis and find out somebodies individual comfort level regarding discussion of their DA and the validity of it, or its relation to any possible kins. It is not appropriate to tell somebody with a DA that they are not "really" their DA. This is considered "reality checking" which can cause somebody to spiral.
If you are ever unsure about somebodies DA, it would be best to ask that individual person for their feelings on the matter as every person with psychosis is different.
Note: As the creator of this carrd, I would like to make it clear I am diagnosed psychotic and consider my kin to be my DA. While I am not the utmost authority on things relating to DA's, this is not being said from an outside perspective