Otherkin and Therians

Communities is a track that focuses on the communities that many fen are also a part of (but are or can be separate from fannish interests). This includes among others the BDSM, homeschooling, Jewish, Pagan, poly, and SCA communities as well as other self-identifying communities.

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Otherkin and Therians

Postby dash » Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:37 pm

Otherkin are people who are non-human in all but physical outward form. Therians, a subset of the Otherkin community, are animals. Come hear about Otherkin and Therians, the development and history of these communities, and Otherkin/Therian experiences in SF/F fandom.
dash
 
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Re: Otherkin and Therians

Postby Themiscyra » Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:39 pm

I'd be quite interested in seeing this panel run, though I'd be somewhat concerned about its reception. Arisia tends to attract a well-behaved crowd, in my experience, but there certainly have been unpleasant incidents in the past (I'm thinking specifically of the guy who came into the Geek Girls & Self-Objectification panel this year to rant about how the panel shouldn't even EXIST, etc. etc.) and the Otherkin community is controversial at best. This is not, of course, a reason to avoid running the panel, more an argument for a doughty moderator and maybe a volunteer or two on hand to deal with any unruly attendees.

This is also a panel I'd love to be on, honestly. I identified quite strongly with the Otherkin community when I was younger, and drifted out of the community more because I was tired of the internal politics and some of the more extreme personalities than anything. I don't talk about it much these days, because it's rarely relevant and I tend to class all the Otherkin stuff with my personal religious beliefs (which I generally view as a private matter), but I'd be happy to speak in the interest of public education. Given the sometimes heated interactions between the Otherkin community and the transgender community, and my own status as a trans woman, I think it'd be interesting to look at how the two communities are like and unlike each other as well.
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Re: Otherkin and Therians

Postby dash » Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:29 pm

Absolutely agreed on the need for a strong moderator, a carefully selected group of panelists, and maybe some extra peacekeepers in the room.

I think whenever there is a group of people to whom the reaction is "you don't exist and this panel shouldn't exist," there is a real problem that needs to be talked about. It impacts all minority groups when it becomes "OK" for people to tell others that their experiences are not real and valid, to harass and mock them, to say that they are mentally ill because they have (and talk about) these experiences, etc. While it is becoming less OK to say these things about LGBT people, it is still very much the norm for Otherkin.

I'm not Otherkin, but as a non-binary gendered person myself, I certainly know I have been told these sorts of things about my gender identity, and it really hurts. I have also experienced this as an asexual person.

I want to build a community that is more inclusive and respectful for all, and I think one step towards that is to have visibility and dialogue (I was on three gender panels last year, and moderated the asexuality panel). I would like to see some of the same respectful dialogue take place for Otherkin in our Arisia community. Noting, of course, that Otherkin have a wide diversity of experiences as well, not all of which can be represented on this panel, just like with any other minority group. (And yes, some Otherkin are trans, too! Intersection, it's a thing. :D )
dash
 
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Re: Otherkin and Therians

Postby dash » Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:33 pm

Themiscyra wrote:(I'm thinking specifically of the guy who came into the Geek Girls & Self-Objectification panel this year to rant about how the panel shouldn't even EXIST, etc. etc.) and the Otherkin community is controversial at best.


We can't know in advance who will show up. We can, however, pick a strong moderator, set clear ground rules before the panel, and in extreme cases, have people removed for harassment. Advance planning can take care of a lot.
dash
 
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Re: Otherkin and Therians

Postby dash » Fri Aug 08, 2014 2:44 am

Bumping this thread for extra consideration in A'15, as it did not run in A'14.
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