If you’ve been on TikTok recently, you may have heard the term ‘therian’ thrown around. While the therian community is fairly new, it’s a rich and fascinating subculture, with new members joining every day. In this article, we’ll offer you a comprehensive guide to therians, explaining what they are, debunking some common misconceptions about them, and offering advice to determine if you might be a therian yourself.
A therian identifies as a species of non-human animal on every level except physical. They often engage in their animal identity’s behaviors. You may be a therian if you notice yourself shifting (getting impulses to behave as a non-human animal) or if you remember a past life as a specific animal. There are other unique types of therians, such as polytherians (who identify as multiple species) and paleotherians (who identify as extinct animals).
Spiritually, psychologically, and emotionally, they relate to the essence and behaviors of this animal, even though they don’t have the physiology to match. Oftentimes, therians feel most like themselves when they engage in specific activities this animal would do. For example, someone whose theriotype (species with which they identify) is a frog might feel most fulfilled when hopping around and croaking, while someone whose theriotype is a penguin might feel most comfortable waddling and huddling with loved ones for warmth. The term therian is derived from the zoological word Theria, which refers to a large group of mammals (including marsupials like koalas and wombats, and placentals like elephants and whales).
Signs You Might Be a Therian
You may like (or even love) a specific animal or species of animal, but that doesn’t mean that animal is your theriotype. In fact, very few therians choose which type of animal they identify as. Their transition into their theriotype often starts with an involuntary, almost clairvoyant impulse. A therian may also experience heightened senses or a tingling sensation when around other animals of their species. While some therians may also identify as Queer, their therian identity is completely unrelated. Because of the words “identify as,” some people group therians in with trans and other gender-nonconforming groups. However, therians don’t consider themselves a part of the LGBT community and vice versa.
Other Types of Therians
Furries are people who are especially interested in a specific animal. They often make animal personas (called ‘fursonas’) or animal costumes (called ‘fursuits’) to connect even further with this animal. However, their fursonas are still a form of roleplaying; they view the animal they’re portraying as a character. Therians, on the other hand, see their animal identity as a core part of them. They are the animal they identify as, whether they’re wearing a costume or not. A small percentage of furries may also derive sexual pleasure from dressing up and behaving as their animal personas. Therians don’t consider their animal behaviors to be erotic acts.
Is being a therian a mental illness?
No, it’s an identity. It would be a mental illness if someone believes they can physically shift into their theriotype. You cannot physically change.
Can I identify as a fictional animal and a real animal?
Yes! Identifying as a fictional being is called Fictionkin and it’s completely valid to identify as a fictional animal and a real animal. Make sure to do a lot of research before you identify as that though.
Does it mean I’m a therian if I feel like I have paws, a tail and ears, and if I have dreams about being a cat?
Most likely how I became a therian was I shifted but it could also mean something else. Just try to study theranthropy before you jump to conclusions.