Today I read a Q&A that went something like:
Q. Is it possible for one of my fantasy harpies to be transgender when they're an all-female species? Isn't that like a human who thinks he's an elf???
A. Of course it's possible, because gender isn't the same as physical sex. Write your own fluff to explain if it makes you feel better.
This is going to sound melodramatic, but the answer that my heart was aching to hear was "who are you to tell [PLAYER] what body their character would prefer?"
Because the breasts, and the hair, and the outfits all help, but there are times when I don't want to see a human in the mirror. When it hurts the same way that seeing a guy in it did. And I can't even go on, like, Tumblr, and cry about it with my SJW friends, and have them reblog hug gifs and stuff at me. Because I am fucking appropriating the transgender experience, as a therian / otherkin.
Also we're a plurality, so we're fucking batshit Lovecraftian crazy.
(Apologies to any bats in the audience.)
Everyone is cheering Paizo on for giving a Pathfinder NPC a backstory that included a gender transition. Is there anyone in all of fucking Golarion who longed to, say, be a dragon, and somehow managed to change into one?
Pathfinder Kitsune (which suck, BTW) can change shape between human and anthro fox forms. The book says they often take human form to blend in. What is that like? What's it like having to look like a different species than your own all day, every day, in a world that even the fucking designers say is "human-centric?" And hear people like the players on Pathfinder's forum talking about how "I hope they don't let more weird races in here! This is a D&D clone, not the Mos Eisley cantina!"
THIS IS SUCH A BIZARRE EXPERIENCE I CAN'T IMAGINE WHAT THAT COULD BE LIKE
We got, like, one new species trait in Inner Sea Races. One. There are fewer than ten printed pages in all of Paizo's publishing line which substantially address their half-assed Kitsune, or Golarion's half-assed copy of Inari. And that's counting the Forest of Spirits' write-up.
They've made hundreds and hundreds of miniatures now, and not a single Kitsune character.
And yet I rarely complain about it at all, because a major game publisher has PLAYABLE Kitsune in a worldwide organized campaign OMG!!!
(Don't get me started on the number of MMOs and video games that I've sifted through, looking for anything. Don't get me started on video game portrayals of dromaeosaurids (raptors), either.)
This is ridiculous, right? It's a petty example! It's nothing to get worked up about! And you're right, I mean, Pathfinder sucks for a thousand other reasons and I'd rather play Fate.
But, like, tell that to the people who all took the time out of their day to tell me how spoiled and entitled I am, a few years ago, just for pointing out on their forums how unfair it was that you couldn't play Kitsune (then) in Pathfinder Society unless you went to a convention and got a "racial boon."
These games are my fucking escape from dysphoria, and there were people being given permission to inhabit the body type I longed for as a fucking random-drop reward, for being rich and flying a thousand miles to Paizocon. And being like "eh, maybe for my next character" and then losing it in their overstuffed RPG binders.
I called out people's speciesist attitudes, and their ageist cultural supremacy bullshit that makes them want to police anime / Japanese things in "their" game. BUT NO. If I'd wanted to play a character who looks like me, I should've gone to their gods-damned convention! So that they can safely limit the amount of ANIME SHIT in their FUCKING ELFGAME, and keep those DAMNED TEENAGE GIRLS and their Naruto crap in the manga section where they belong.
And no, I wasn't making fun of teenage girls or manga or anything. I was trying to point out all the prejudices involved.
Because it's not just otherkin. It never is.
Whenever there's something fantastic and awe-inspiring, someone's life depends on it. Someone needs it to express themselves, to feel alive, to escape from a terrible world. Whether they feel driven to worship it, fanfic it, fuck it, or be it, as long as they aren't hurting anyone it is fucking oppressive to shame them for it. And that shame is always going to come from more powerful people, and hurt less powerful ones.
Want an example that involves otherkin? Mormons believe that they are all angelkin godlings in training. They literally believe they'll "grow up" to be gods just like, you know, God. And rule over planets and stuff. But that's okay! Because, like, they're smiling white boys riding bikes / wearing nametags, and older white men who are rich. Rich, old, white men can do whatever the fuck they want.
I'm afraid to tell people the specific relationship that I feel there is, between me and Inari Okami, because I'm afraid I'll be shamed for it.
And you know, maybe Mormons don't exactly talk about this in public, either. Maybe they deny it when it's brought up, like in an infamous 60 Minutes interview, because they're ashamed of being so weird and they really want people to like them.
But they're rich enough that they can afford a space to talk about it. I'm a fucking trans girl who is unemployed and messed up in the head, so I'm afraid to even go on fucking Tumblr, haven of SJW types, because I can't without being attacked.
BY the SJW types.
For "appropriating" my own fucking transgender identity.
I want a community, a role model, and a hope for the future. One that maybe involves treating non-humans as people, instead of as food to be raised in a fucking rape factory. And seeing people who identify with non-humans as what they are.
I want it so badly.