Orangeban asked: "Here's something I was thinking about today, what do you think about people from the Otherkin communities comparing their experiences of dysphoria with their own species to the experiences of trans* people?"
First off, I have to admit, I've never looked into clinical/psychological information regarding otherkin. However, that's also because I've never once heard anyone really relate the two except by people trying to equate trans and otherkin, and by doing so basically arguing via slippery slope "If we accept YOU, then where does it end?"
This is actually why I took this topic, more than anything else. When I was first defending my transsexuality, I had many people compare me to otherkin and it stumped me at first. I'm now far better educated, and I hope that those who read this can use this knowledge to defend against this poor analogy.
This analogy is so incorrect, that it's insulting. First and foremost, lets begin with the biology issue. Humans, before we're born, all start out as female. The chromosomes we have in our DNA cause us to differentiate into Male and Female. This results in many structures being similar, because, essentially, we're cast from the same blank slate. Intersex people have the issue where they didn't really differentiate into one neat category properly.
(Please note that I'm speaking of PHYSICAL sex. This is in no way targeted at people who identify as gender neutral or gender-queer. In both of those cases, we're talking about gender. This topic is physical sex)
Additionally, there's studies that have found that the MtF transsexual brain has portions which are partially feminized. So what we have here is a case where the brain is not differentiated properly into a 'sex'. I'll go ahead assert that transsexuality is a neurological incarnation of intersexuality. In fact, those who write the DSM guidelines for treatment pretty well agree, but kept it on the books so insurance providers couldn't weasel out of covering us. (even though they do anyway)
So, now, how does this relate to Otherkin? Well, it's fairly obvious now: When we're developing in the womb, gendered bits of us develop one way, the other, or indeterminate. Nowhere in that gendered scale is there a chance to develop 'like a dragon' 'like an angel 'like a faerie'. Though it's entirely possible that someone may feel in their heart of hearts they're a werewolf, there is no part of their brain that is 'partially werewolfized'. It simply can't happen. The species involved in otherkin do not even exist, much less exist in human biology.
So first and foremost, they have no biological imperative telling them that something is wrong. But that extends further out into society. I know a great many transgender people who really, really hated the expectations thrust upon them by society. This is because society, and culture, are HEAVILY gendered things. Girls generally hang out with girls, boys with boys. Girls are expected to look pretty, submissive, and thin. Boys are expected to be big, strong, tough and assertive. Even the clothes we wear are scrutinized, each 'team' has their own 'uniform' As such, even just going out into society when you're trans is an intensely alienating and upsetting event.
On the topic of society, we also have the rampant discrimination that transgender people face. Our medical needs are denied because we're trans. If we're found out to be trans, some medical insurance places raise our premiums, without covering our medicines. We're denied housing, we're denied jobs, we're denied a place in society. Even the topic of marriage manages to screw us; some jurisdictions essentially rule that getting your gender changed means nothing; and they deny you rights relating to your opposite gender spouse on that basis. Others rule that it does matter, and you thus can't marry someone of your same gender. With all the rampant contradictory statements running around here, we manage to be denied marriage, identity, chance at family, chance at happiness.
And that's nothing to speak of the violence faced by transgender people. It seems you can't look up a trans news feed without seeing another notification of a transgender person murdered for being themselves, then see the police and the media ignore it like it never happened. All of this? THIS is persecution. THIS is what transsexual people find staring back at them when they read their news. THIS is why we have the Transgender Day of Remembrance.
I never see stories of people being brutally murdered because they're otherkin.
I never see stories of people being denied basic human rights because they're otherkin
I never see stories about otherkin being denied healthcare
I never see stories about how stressful it is for otherkin to interact in society with "non-otherkin"
I never hear about how otherkin cannot have children due to their medical regimen.
I think they have every right to do what they do. They should be able to meet up, have their communities, think what they want about their 'spiritual past', do whatever it is they do. What they should NOT do is try to compare their spiritual quirk, and how people 'don't get them' with people suffering from a physical incongruity between their gender and sex. There is a definite physical difference between someone who's trans and someone who's not trans. I have yet to see even one study showing how someone's brain is "Pixified", or something similar, and until I do, I'll continue to call this comparison out for the poor analogy it really is.
[Edit]: In light of some discussion that has cropped up related to this article, I want to make clear that my scorn is mostly with cisgender people who use this argument, ignoring the differences. The only otherkin I have any similar scorn for are ones who persistently, insistently say that we're the same, in the face of all the discrimination we face. Regardless, it's not my place to say someone cannot practice a spiritual / religious thing, but it IS my place to call out comparing it to trans, with it's scientifically understood basis.
Quote of the day: "Be who you are, and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind" Dr. Seuss
(I just wanted to remind you guys that questions can be submitted by ANYONE, and that they help me tremendously by giving me a prompt to work with. Even if you don't have an account, comment submission is open to anonymous posting. Currently the number of views is fairly high (thank you, faithful readers!) but the comments are very low by comparison. If you have any question you'd like me to look at, please leave it in the comments.)