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Otherkin is a term used to refer to people who believe that their physical bodies do not reflect their perceived “actual” non-human spiritual forms. This perceived entity may range from mythical species like demons, dragons, elves and faeries to wild animals and domesticated pets.
The phenomenon of identifying oneself as a non-human dates back to the 1970s when a group of self-identifying faeries known as “The Elf Queen’s Daughters” was formed. However, the term “otherkin” was coined decades later in April 1990 with the appearance of the word “otherkind” on the Elfinkind Digest, a mailing list for elves started by R’ykandar Korra’ti in March 1990. The term was used to describe the non-elf non-humans that were subscribed to the list. Three months later, on July 9th, 1990, a poster known as Torin became the first to use the term “Otherkin” out of convenience instead of typing out “elf/dragon/orc/etc.-kin.”
Outside of Usenet, the first definitive FAQ about Otherkin was posted to personal website Astraeasweb.net in January 2000. That June, Otherkin.net was established for people to not only find information about the subculture, but also to connect with others who felt similarly. By November, the site put up an Awakening essay to welcome newcomers who think they may be Otherkin. A year later on March 4th, 2001, a LiveJournal communitywas created for users of that site to communicate with like-minded people.
As of August 2013, there are 250 LiveJournal communities associated with Otherkin. Tumblr has also seen a flurry of Otherkin activity, both positive and negative, that is collected on the Otherkin tag. There are two wiki-style reference sites that catalog Otherkin related materials. An Otherkin-identified person known as Orion Sandstorm has compiled a a book list of published Otherkin writings, a directory of other related works and a consistently updated timeline of the history of the subculture, from the 1970s to present. On Facebook, Otherkin has 1718 likes. In 2009, LiveJournal community Otherkin News was established to share both online and offline updates about Otherkin and Therianthropes.
Otherkin frequently receive heavy criticism from non-participants due to the seemingly eccentric beliefs and behaviors engendered by the subculture. Several message boards have had threads discussing Otherkin in a negative manner, including Straight Dope, Forumopolis and Gaia Online. In 2008, the Examiner published an article expressing skepticism towards non-human identities, labeling them “weird” and suggesting their writings satirize themselves. In 2009, Otherkin was included on Oddee’s list of 8 Bizarre Subcultures. In 2011, humor site Zug published an article in which the author attempted to break into the online communities as a troll, pretending to get in touch with his “inner elf.”
FYIAD (Fuck You, I’m A Dragon!)
On October 17th, 2003, Matthew Finnegan, known as Starblade Riven Darksquall, posted a diatribe about his Otherkin beliefs to the LiveJournal community debate. Throughout the more than 500 comments, Starblade asserted that he was a dragon and did not take any sass from trolling commenters, brought to the community by LJ Drama.LJD users interpreted his argument as Fuck you I’m a dragon!.
The argument lead to Starblade being documented on Encyclopedia Dramatica and Wikifur. However, in 2010, Finnegan was stabbed to death by his friend. It was discussed on the LiveJournal community Unfunny Fandom, where the original poster noted that Starblade had been convinced someone was planning his murder.
Orion Sandstorrm – Otherkin Timeline: The Recent History of Elfin, Fae, and Animal People
Orion Sandstorm – A Director of Otherkin Writings and other works, organized by topic
Unfunny Fandom – Starblade of “Fuck you, I’m a dragon!” fame stabbed to death.