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Alt key emoji

The alt key, a common symbol of alterhumanity

Alterhuman is a term for individuals who have identities that are beyond what is traditionally considered being "human". An alterhuman can identify as non-human, or they can identify as being human in ways alternate to what is societally common. The word "alterhuman" can be used as an umbrella term for various identities.[1][2][3]


In the original coining post, alterhumans were described as differing from the "common societal idea of humanity". This was defined as:

  • a person feeling connected to and represented by a human body
  • a singular person being in a body who has been there since birth
  • a person’s identification as human without a supernatural basis
  • a person’s identification as human without personal subcultures taking greater precedence

The post emphasizes that no one who follows these criteria is obligated to feel represented by the term; for instance, some who follow reincarnation-based spiritualities may not consider themselves alterhuman despite having spiritual or supernatural justifications for their humanity.[1]

As a result, the world alterhuman covers a broad range of experiences, some of which have very little or even nothing in common with each other. These identities can be nonhuman, human, voluntary or involuntary. They can be based in spirituality, psychology, or some other framework of origin.[4] It was later suggested "non-typical experiences of species identity, embodiment, narrative identity and personal mythology" as categories that encompass most types of alterhumanity.[5]

History and etymology[]

The term “alterhuman” (originally stylized “alter-human”) comes from the phrase “Alternative Humanity Personal Identity”, or “AHPI”. Both were coined by Tumblr user phasmovore in a post in 2014.[1] The coining was prompted by a debate in the tumblr community as to whether people who identified with - not as - an entity were otherkin, as well as people who identified with/as concepts (these experiences would later come to be understood as otherheartedness and conceptkin, respectively). Some people expressed that this might be an opportunity to coin an umbrella term for a number of communities related to otherkin, including therians, plural and fictionkin. Other proposals for the term included "perhuman" and "alternahuman".[6]

The term did not originally gain much traction.[7] Its use began to pick up as a result of Alt+H's Question of the Month posts in late 2016.[8]

On September 24th, 2019, the Unicode symbol for the alt key (⎇) was proposed to be used as a symbol for alterhumanity.[9] The symbol gained visibility in 2022 as a result of its inclusion in Reddit's r/place event.[10][11]


Some people have compared the relationship between "alterhuman" and "otherkin" to the relationship between "queer" and "gay".[8][12] Daily Dot reporter Ana Valens observed that, in line with this, people who identify as alterhuman typically have more "radical" politics.[8] Speaking at Othercon in 2022, the Wayward Tides system proposed an alterhuman current of anarchism, drawing from queer, post-civ and post-left anarchist theory.[13]


Many people who use the term have praised it for its permissiveness. Researcher Nikky Jackson states that it "exemplifies the progression of the community in its acceptance of new ideas on identity".[14]

Not everyone who could be described by the term chooses to use it. Some may feel that the alterhuman umbrella is too broad, given the wide range of communities that can be included in it. Some groups have argued against the inclusion of specific labels under it, or the existence of the term entirely. Therians who object to the term frequently also object to association with the otherkin community.[15] Plurals who object to the term are often systems with DID that are uncomfortable with their mental disorder being equated to non-humanity.[16][17]

However, many people condone the term and simply do not feel it fits them. One reason for this may be that they feel it is too connected to humanity. The term “alterbeing” has been coined to account for this,[18] although it has not gained as much traction. Some people self-describe as alterbeings, but still feel comfortable being considered part of the alterhuman community.[Citation needed]

Conversely, some people have observed, and criticized, that many members of the community treat alterhumanity as synonymous with only otherkinity or nonhumanity.[17][19]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Malchior: "This Will Probably be my Last Post on Semantics" (26th September, 2014). phasmovore.tumblr.com.
  2. Naia Ōkami: "Terminology & Lexicon" (17th July, 2020). kinmunity.com. (Archived version). (Archived on March 31, 2022).
  3. "Alterhuman Glossary". nonhumanity-nonsense.weebly.com.
  4. Alt+H: "What does ‘alterhuman’ mean?" (September 21st, 2017). blog.alt-h.net.
  5. mordecai midas: "small thoughts on a more personally useful shortform definition of 'alterhuman' that i've been rolling around in my head" (June 2020). allium.house.
  6. phasmovore: "re: Anonymous asked: well my oceankin and naturekin identity simply means [...]" (June 25th, 2014). phasmovore.tumblr.com.
  7. vagabond-sun: "with all this talk of new terminology lately...". vagabond-sun.tumblr.com.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Ana Valens: "Otherkin are the internet’s punchline. They’re also our future" (September 26th, 2020). dailydot.com. The Daily Dot.
  9. mordecai midas: "" (September 24th, 2019). allium.house.
  10. "Alterhuman Flag". place-atlas.stefanocoding.me.
  11. aureusFluvialite: "r/alterhuman on r/place: final report" (April 5th, 2022). reddit.com.
  12. mordecai midas: "Otherkinity isn’t LGBT+ but Alterhumanity is Queer" (June 13th, 2019). allium.house.
  13. The Wayward Tides System: "Alterhuman Anarchism - an ideology of radical acceptance of alterhuman and plural identities". youtube.com.
  14. Nikky Jackson (September 2019). Alter-humanity: An examination into other than human individuals through the lens of identity.
  15. various: "Why therianthropy should be divorced from Alt-H and possibly "otherkin" - "identity"?" (September 27th, 2020). forums.therian-guide.com.
  16. "RE: What does ‘alterhuman’ mean?". blog.alt-h.net.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Alt+H: "We’ve removed a lot of disclaimers about some communities being ‘not inherently alterhuman’ from our glossary page." (January 23rd, 2020). blog.alt-h.net.
  18. "Alterbeing (n. adj)". alterbeing-central.tumblr.com.
  19. The Flock of Changes: "alterhuman =/= otherkin". flock-of-changes.tumblr.com.

External links[]