From The Otherkin Community
The term “Otherkin” is poorly defined, even within the community itself. The best definition, because it is relatively general, is that Otherkin are people who identify in some internal way as non-human. The term has come to represent a very wide variety of things, the details of which are debated. Many Otherkin consider the term to represent an individual that has either lived a past life that was non-human or currently lives in a non-human body (they feel that some part of them, physical or otherwise, is not human). Others broaden the definition to include anyone that has lived a past life, including humans. Others still extend the definition to refer to people who identify as non-human for brain-related reasoning. Therefore, the definition of “Otherkin” includes anyone who identifies as an entity/creature/being that is not human on an internal level.
Otherkin, are generally defined as people who believe that they are not human in some intrinsic way. The most common reasoning for the identity is that, though they may inhabit a human body, their consciousness / soul is that of a non-human entity. The second most common explanation is brain-related, either psychological, that the wiring/chemistry of the brain is not 'normal,' or both. These often include races mentioned in various mythologies or animals found on earth or in mythology. These identities include Dragons, Fae, Elves, Vampires, Therians and other popular races. Though in a human body, Otherkin generally exhibit certain traits of their race in their behavior. For example, an Otherkin wolf may spend much of their time around wolves, or even act like one to the extent their human body allows. That being said, many traits that Otherkin attribute to their kintype(s) can also be attributed to being human.
Otherkin are commonly seen as depressed, or feel like they do not fit in. Certain Otherkin do not develop socially as a normal human would, and may avoid people all together (with the exception of other Otherkin). Note that that statement does not apply to all Otherkin. This is because Otherkin are used to, generally, a completely different culture, and a completely different body for that matter. It takes time to adjust. This is comparable to removing a child who has had time to develop within a certain culture (let's say, around the age of 10), and moving him/her to a completely different culture. You will notice similar effects.
Due to the above statement, identifying as Otherkin is often seen as a form of escapism. Among otherkin communities, it is often difficult to determine what individuals identify as Otherkin because they have actually studied themselves, or if they identify as such simply to "feel special" or escape their current situation.
Otherkin also tend to fear being accepted within human culture. This fear to express oneself contributes to their distance from the rest of humanity. Though certain Otherkin are accepted among their peers, many are ridiculed for simply being different. Awakening Otherkin still living with their parents also fear acceptance from their own family.
Due to the pressure placed upon them by society, Otherkin tend to seek out other methods of expression, or safe havens they can go to. Often as children, this includes games and stories that they can relate to. Once they grow and awaken, this leans more toward chatting with other Otherkin online (this generally occurs online due to the easy anonymity).
The term "Awakening" is applied to any person that has begun recalling Pastlives and/or Abilities or has a general feeling of not being human and seeks to discover the meaning of these feelings. This process often begins during puberty, and progresses from that point on. The process of awakening often leads to emotional problems that can be confused with Bipolar Disorder and Multiple Personality Disorder, among others. The reason for this can be a number of things, stemming from confusion, to fear, to past emotions from memories.
See Awakening for more information.
Due to their obscure beliefs and odd behavior, Otherkin have not received a very positive response from outside communities. Their actions and behavior, perhaps the most obscure, are often treated as disorders. One such disorder is Clinical Lycanthropy, which is the belief that one is physically transforming into a werewolf. However, note that Otherkin tend not to believe that they can physically shape shift. They recognize that they are within human bodies. Their belief is that their consciousness/soul or psychology/brain is not human. This is one example of a misconception that leads to ridicule of Otherkin.
There are a couple of misconceptions about Otherkin that this article seeks to clarify.
Therianthropy is the belief that one is either part or entirely animal. Examples of Therians in mythology include the Centaur, Horus, and other similar races. Otherkin Therians tend to share beliefs of other Otherkin in that they are physically human. However, a common misconception is that all Otherkin are Therians. Theranthropy is a sub-category of Otherkin. Therians are Otherkin that include people who identify as animals. Some people only consider earthly animals, both alive and extinct, to fall under the label. Others also include non-magical mythical animals in the definition.
"Furries" are people who dress up as animals and roleplay - very different than Otherkin. Please see the above descriptions for more information on Otherkin.