Transsexuals and otherkin

After re­flect­ing on the “Gen­der Iden­tity and Ra­tion­al­ity” post, there is some­thing that con­tinues to bug me, a shred of doubt burn­ing through my brain.

What is it about gen­der iden­tity that sep­a­rates it from fringe sub­cul­tures like oth­erkin, soulbon­ders, and what­ever else? Why is one con­sid­ered so­cially ac­cept­able (how­ever grudg­ingly and how­ever rocky his­tory the recog­ni­tion has), and the other isn’t? Is such a dis­tinc­tion jus­tified in the first place?

What’s so sub­stan­tially differ­ent be­tween “I’m re­ally an­other gen­der on the in­side” and “I’m re­ally an­other species on the in­side”? Mud­dling the wa­ters is the fact that I know some trans­sex­u­als who also are or used to be oth­erkin.

I have seen two differ­ent points of view on this sub­ject:

1. Well, who are we to claim that oth­erkin are wrong? Per­haps their con­di­tion de­serves le­gi­t­i­mate recog­ni­tion and sym­pa­thy.

2. The differ­ence is be­tween iden­ti­fy­ing with some­thing that ver­ifi­ably ex­ists (and ex­ists within the psy­cholog­i­cal unity of hu­mankind), and iden­ti­fy­ing with a species that is ei­ther non-sapi­ent (and thus un­able to be tar­geted by hu­man em­pa­thy to the same ex­tent that hu­mans are), or flat-out doesn’t ex­ist (drag­ons, fae, and other fan­tasy crea­tures).

While I’m my­self lean­ing to­wards the sec­ond point of view, I find the ar­gu­ment rather weak. It im­plies that in a hy­po­thet­i­cal set­ting with mul­ti­ple in­tel­li­gent species, “species iden­tity” may be a so­cially valid char­ac­ter­is­tic, and a hu­man cit­i­zen of the Fed­er­a­tion claiming to be men­tally a Klin­gon would be worth pay­ing at­ten­tion to. And I find that… coun­ter­in­tu­itive.