A Quick Reference to My Interest In Otherkin, Furry, Brony, and Other Animal-Based Subcultures
This is here for those who are curious about what my angle is when I do shout-outs to the internet about my research.
I am pursuing a graduate degree in human sexuality. The atmosphere where I study is very, very permissive and not interested in pathologizing behaviors or people. The interest is in understanding, exploration, and advocacy. As you may be able to guess, I am a member of, and participant in, a certain number of fringe groups myself. I am not unfamiliar with what it means to be labeled incorrectly, pathologized, and generally poorly-described by professionals and laymen alike who are fundamentally misinformed or harbor prejudices.
Part of my education, a required part in fact, has been about addressing and resolving prejudices about sexuality and identity. It’s an in-the-trenches sort of educational premise and not an at-your-desk journey. The goal is to practice detailed understanding, not academic arrogance.
The path to my graduate degree involves being a practicing and certified sex educator and complimentary mental health care provider for people who struggle with sexual or gender issues.
Despite my searching, I have had trouble finding reliable, helpful, information about certain groups and subcultures. This is extremely problematic for me.
My life and professional experience in kink and the LGBTQIA movements mean that a lot of other fringe groups and specific interests cross my path. Many have questions, or requests, having to do with their orientations and identities. I am prepared to give out information and help to kinksters and LGBTQIA people who may consult me, but I am deeply underqualified and underinformed to help anyone experiencing species dysphoria, exhibiting interests in furry fandom, exhibiting interests in Brony subculture, etc. , that may need support or resources. I believe that most, if not all, sexologists are in the same boat and, unfortunately, not asking questions.
There IS a major kink interest group related to animal role play, (that I am proficient in,) but this is a very specific facet of animal-based interest and orientation, and not useful as a reference for the other facets.
Not having accessible sexual health care as an option for any group is problematic and, in my opinion, limits their rights.
I’m not looking to publish a book to sensationalize anyone, or really to make any profit, even in office hours. A harsh truth is that the majority of people who are members of fringe groups have limited incomes. Being an outsider often means being excluded from professional promotions and opportunities. As such, anyone interested in offering services to members of fringe groups, at best, have to offer sliding-scale payments.
My goal is, essentially, to gather information from the members of these groups and discuss with them what their experiences involve, what the implications may be (if any,) and what their needs are within the group, as people, and as individuals who may be seeking real, solid information about what their interests and orientation mean. (“Meaning,” here, I will define as the existential search. “Am I crazy?” or “Does this mean I’m gay?” and so on are typical, terrified questions I get. My answer, unequivocally, is that judgment and labeling are unwarranted and that no external source can truly define who you are.) My aim is to foster understanding and acceptance and *let those who self-identify as having an issue be the only people that we discuss as needing help. (Note: the exception to this would be anyone engaging in acts that are harmful to others or themselves.)
To address any of this, however, there needs to be a reliable body of information to actually build into a functional and informed resource for those with questions, and for professionals in health care or complimentary health care that need to educate themselves on how to help the people who come to them.
Like, please imagine a world where a required part of my education in sexuality is to understand, without prejudice, animal-based interests. That should be the case, no? And it should be for everyone studying sexuality to learn about fringe groups, this included.
But you have to start somewhere. I am sure I won’t be doing this alone, but I would like to start building this resource. I believe it is a need for many people that, at present, does not exist.
Pardon my frank wording here: Historically, mainstream mental health care has fucked-up fringe groups. Women were “hysterical,” the female orgasm was a myth, homosexuality was a degenerate disease, trans gendered people were just plain crazy, and at this very moment kinksters are being painted as inherent perpetrators of sexual assault. I feel that there is a serious risk of being an asshole if we choose to marginalize an already-marginalized group of people. It’s not like the number of individuals with animal-based sexualities and identities is a small one. We would be writing-off a huge, huge group of people. And because the hand full of professionals that have published anything about this have pathologized the living hell out of these groups, the members are now very hesitant (rightfully so) to discuss their personal lives.
And this is where I’m in a jam: What happens when a 19yr old lesbian who knows she is into MLP role play, comes to my office concerned that she is actually species-dysphoric, and experiencing significant emotional anguish about this identity crisis? How can I possibly help her if the information about her identity doesn’t exist in any form outside “make friends in forums and ask them” -?
I’m going to work on a brief questionnaire for anyone that desires to contribute their experiences, anonymously of course, to my efforts. My request is this: If you are a person who considers themselves to be a part of this group, please tell me if you think I’m missing something, or have made what you consider to be some critical error somewhere. I am working with an extremely limited amount of information, and while sexual identity is something I am super well-versed in addressing, this particular array has it’s own important details that I would love to respectfully document. I genuinely welcome your input.
Re: Me being a Domme – This is a strange concern animal-interest people occasionally have with me. We are both members of a marginalized sexual interest group, and I participate in animal role-play. If your problem is with me being a sex worker, please check your judgments at the door, where I have left mine, and be assured I’m not after your money. My life as a ProDomme has some overlapping interests with my academic pursuits, but they are not mutually exclusive by any means. Professional Domination does, however, act as a very effective vehicle for my research. My reach is significantly farther this way, and anyone curious about me has easy means to explore what I’m about and my personal thoughts about sexuality.