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Species dysphoria is the experience of dysphoria associated with the feeling that one's body is of the wrong species.[1][unreliable fringe source?] Outside of psychological literature, the term is common within the otherkin and therian communities to describe their experiences.[2][unreliable fringe source?]


Definition and symptomsEdit

Earls and Lalumière (2009) describe it as "the sense of being in the wrong [species'] body...a desire to be an animal".[3] A term that has also been used is "transspecies", described by Phaedra and Isaac Bonewits as "people who believe themselves to be part animal, or animal souls that have been incarnated in human bodies".[4]

Species dysphoria may include:


Many find comfort in a form of transition, whether physical or social.[6] There is little research in surgeries towards the end of looking like another species. Amongst what does exist, a 2008 paper by Samuel Poore in The Journal of Hand Surgery - American Volume details how a wing similar to that of a flightless bird could be constructed from a human arm.[7]

In a critical discussion of the work of Gerbasi et al. (2008), Fiona Probyn-Rapsey (2011) proposes that if "Species Identity Disorder" were to be treated, it may follow paths towards encouraging desistance, mirroring aims for desistance in the treatment of gender dysphoria in children; perhaps "redirecting a child’s attention away from cross-dressing as an animal" or "limiting the influence of humanimal creatures like stuffed toys".[8] She proposes alternatively that treatments "might involve counseling to learn to tolerate “atypical” humanimal development for those bothered by furries [with Species Identity Disorder]".[8]

Relationship to gender dysphoriaEdit

Though not all people with species dysphoria have gender dysphoria, and vice versa, overlap exists. Some people experience both gender dysphoria and species dysphoria and consider them to be related in that they believe them to be similar dysphoric experiences.[9][unreliable fringe source?]

"Species dysphoria" is informally used mainly in psychological literature to compare the experiences of some individuals to those in the transgender community.[10]

Relationship to the furry fandomEdit

In a 2008 study by Gerbasi et al., amongst other things pursuing the potential of a condition termed "Species Identity Disorder", 46% of people surveyed who identified as being in the furry fandom, answered "yes" to the question "Do you consider yourself to be less than 100% human?" and 41% answered "yes" to the question "If you could become 0% human, would you?"[11]

Questions that Gerbasi states as being deliberately designed to draw parallels with gender dysphoria, specifying "a persistent feeling of discomfort" about the human body and the feeling that the person was the "non-human species trapped in a human body", were answered "yes" by 24% and 29% of respondents, respectively.[12]

Relationship to zoophiliaEdit

Though not all people with species dysphoria are zoophilic, it has been proposed that there is comorbidity in some zoophiles by Beetz (2004), citing Miletski (2002) as evidence of this.[13]

Miletski (2002), in a study contained in their book, involving 67 male and nine female zoophiles, found that 16 (24%) of the men reported that it was ‘‘completely or mostly true’’ that they began having sex with animals because they ‘‘identified with the animal of [their] gender’’, 0 women reported this, with 1 woman reporting it as "sometimes true" against 14 of the men reporting as "sometimes true".[14]

A 2003 study by Williams and Weinberg surveyed 114 self identified zoophilic men and wrote that some admitted to "believing they had animal characteristics or that they felt like they were an animal."[15]

In fictionEdit

In 2007, Los Angeles artist Micha Cárdenas created Becoming Dragon, a "mixed-reality performance" in which a virtual reality experience was created to allow a person to completely experience life through the eyes of a dragon avatar in the virtual world, Second Life. After the performance, Cárdenas reported that "some of these people call themselves Otherkin, and feel deeply, truly, painfully that they were born as the wrong species, that they are foxes, dragons and horses. I would refer to them as transspecies."[16]

J M Barrie's Peter Pan has been described as experiencing species dysphoria by Garber (1997).[17]

Jean Dutourd's short novel Une Tête de Chien features a spaniel-headed human protagonist described by Giffney and Hird as suffering from species dysphoria.[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Lupa (2007) A Field Guide To Otherkin. Megalithica Books. p. 39
  2. ^ Lupa (2007) A Field Guide To Otherkin. Megalithica Books.
  3. ^ Earls, Christopher M; Lalumière, Martin L (2009). "A Case Study of Preferential Bestiality". Archives of Sexual Behavior: 3.
  4. ^ Bonewits, Isaac; Bonewits, Phaedra (2007). Real Energy: Systems, Spirits, And Substances to Heal, Change, And Grow. New Page Books. p. 196.
  5. ^ Lupa (2007) A Field Guide To Otherkin. Megalithica Books. p. 41-42
  6. ^ "Therianthropy Education and Therapeutic Alliance - For Therapists". Archived from the original on 4 March 2015. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  7. ^ O Poore, Samuel (2008). "The Morphological Basis Of The Arm-to-Wing Transition". Journal of Hand Surgery - American Volume: 277–280.
  8. ^ a b Probyn-Rapsey, Fiona (2011). "Furries and the Limits of Species Identity Disorder: A Response to Gerbasi et al" (PDF). Society & Animals. 19 (3): 294–301. doi:10.1163/156853011X578956.
  9. ^ Lupa (2007) A Field Guide To Otherkin. Megalithica Books. p. 40
  10. ^ Bryant, Clifton D. (2001). Encyclopedia of criminology and deviant behavior: Sexual deviance, Volume 3. Brunner/Routledge. p. 21.
  11. ^ Gerbasi, Kathleen C.; Higner, Justin; Paolone, Nicholas; L. Scaletta, Laura; L. Bernstein, Penny; Conway, Samuel; Privitera, Adam (2008). "Furries A to Z (Anthropomorphism to Zoomorphism)" (PDF). Society & Animals. 16 (3): 197–222. doi:10.1163/156853008X323376. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 December 2014.
  12. ^ Gerbasi, Kathleen C.; Higner, Justin; Paolone, Nicholas; L. Scaletta, Laura; L. Bernstein, Penny; Conway, Samuel; Privitera, Adam (2008). "Furries A to Z (Anthropomorphism to Zoomorphism)" (PDF). Society & Animals. 16 (3): 197–222. doi:10.1163/156853008X323376. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 December 2014.
  13. ^ M Beetz, Andrea (2004). "Bestiality/Zoophilia: A Scarcely Investigated Phenomenon Between Crime, Paraphilia, and Love". Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice: 26.
  14. ^ Miletski, Hani (2002). Understanding Bestiality and Zoophila (PDF). p. 134. ISBN 978-0971691704.
  15. ^ J. Williams, Colin; S. Weinberg, Martin (December 2003). "Zoophilia in Men: A Study of Sexual Interest in Animals". Archives of Sexual Behavior. 32 (6): 528.
  16. ^ Cárdenas, Micha; Greco, Kael; Margolis, Todd; Head, Christopher (2009). "Becoming Dragon: a mixed reality, durational performance in Second Life" (PDF). The International Society for Optical Engineering. The Engineering Reality of Virtual Reality 2009. 7238: 10. Bibcode:2009SPIE.7238E..07C. doi:10.1117/12.806260. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 December 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  17. ^ Garber, Marjorie (1997). Vested Interests: Cross-Dressing and Cultural Anxiety. Routledge. p. 174.
  18. ^ Giffney, Noreen; Hird, Myra J (2008). Queering the non/human. Ashgate. p. 213.