The world is moving fast, and leaders need to adapt.
As an educator, I have seen a lot of changes in the last ten years, one of which is how comfortable my students are becoming at expressing their sexuality and being open about being transgender. In the last few years this has become commonplace, and last year in a student body of 60 or so students, we had four who were openly transgender.
But for the first time, I have now come across the term Therian.
This can be on a spiritual or a psychological level and can be a form of species dysmorphia, in that you do not feel your body matches your species.
As leaders, we need to have an open mind. Humans have certainly had a fascination with animals since storytelling began. In many cultures, we see lycanthropy and shapeshifters. Gods across the pantheons had the ability to become animals, or have animal-like features.
Some Therians have supernumerary phantom limbs where the individuals believe they:
“Receive sensory information from limbs of the body that do not actually exist, and never have existed.”
I grew up in the 1980’s and remember watching cartoons such as Visionaries, Bravestarr, and Thundercats, where the line between human and animal is blurred. This is a common occurrence in western culture. Snapchat filters allow us to look like cats, dogs, and rabbits. Playboy bunnies and feline outfits have become highly sexualized. Often men will get tattoos of tigers and wolves to represent their nature.
We talk about hibernating, huddling under blankets like a dormouse to enjoy an evening of Netflix and hot chocolates. We refer to ourselves as “cat people”, or “dog people”.
We have an overwhelming fascination with animals, and when you remember that the idea of Therians really does not seem that far-fetched.
“Some believe their therianthropy to be caused through reincarnation or misplaced souls, while others believe it to be cases of psychological imprinting or an abnormality in their neurological wiring.”
I have barely touched on the subject in this article, and would not say I was well-informed at this point. But I am curious and open to the idea. Sure, some will say this is a mental health issue.
Maybe it is.
But what if it is real?
And what is the harm?
We certainly describe people as looking or acting like wolves, hawks, rodents, cows, sheep, and more. I have called my two-year-old daughter “monkey” probably more than any other word. Will this cause confusion for her?
So if someone identifies as a wolf, maybe even wants to wear fangs, how is that an issue for me?
The world is changing fast and I love it.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy — Shakespeare.
You can scream about snowflakes, and wish everyone was like you, or things were how they used to be. But parents, educators, and leaders need to be more open-minded. How can you lead anyone, if you do not accept them for who they truly are?
As President Kennedy wrote:
“Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are sure to miss the future.”
Have curiosity and compassion, and the courage to accept change.
Besides …. do you really feel 100% human?
Previously published on darrenhorne
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