I feel that I have to make absolutely clear that this whole trans-age and trans-species thing was something which I came across because of politically right-wing media, and most of it likens the purported ridiculousness believed-to-be nonsense of transness to the claimed ridiculousness of being trans-age or trans-species.

I by accident came across this concept of trans-age --- the idea that one really is another age internally on some level and or the idea that one wishes to be a different age, although one is biologically age X --- on YouTube and thereafter began to search it. In some ways it is strikingly familiar to transgender people's claims about having and or wanting to be/already being/always being from birth or perhaps even before birth, e.g. spiritually, a gender that is different from their sex, despite their having a sex which is typically either female or male, not intersex. Thus, I think it is interesting to ask whether or not one can be trans-age and whether, like the concept of transness is in my view, a valid concept?

Naturally there are some problems that arise when one asks such a question: if one is, for example, a woman of 60, yet one identifies as a girl of 10, does that not violate children's rights to protection and dignity, or at least endanger them, as that woman could potentially be with ill intentions with regard to the children, i.e. she could want to sexually or otherwise abuse them --- yes, I am fully aware how this criticism is very much like, even analogous to, the criticism of how trans people, but especially trans women, are allegedly "perverts" or more prone to perverse behaviour, or how they or cis people, especially cis men, who claim to be trans can gain access to toilets, changing rooms, etc., to live out their perverted fantasies and wants, so please do NOT think that these are the lines of support down which I am going, as I am in no way in support of such of you at all --- one thinks of this person, as this individual is the person to whom a lot of people go when they are thinking and or debating the alleged ridiculousness of transness and it's claimed similarities to being trans-age.

Likewise, if one can be trans-age, can one be trans-species, i.e. be human, but identify as a non-human animal, for example, e.g. like this individual --- yes, another right-wing thing on the Internet, but as I said all my sources are right-wing)?

Now, I do have to say that I have talked with some people who identify as otherkin --- people who don't identify as human --- and contrary to what is often touted by people, these people are not saying that they are not human biologically because they know that they are, just like a dyadic trans woman knows she is going to be understood as biologically male by most scientific standards, nor are these people ignorant of their being human on an objective level, by which I mean a level on which others will perceive them.

Interestingly, I did find [this] conversation on Reddit which addressed many questions that I had asked otherkin people, e.g. whether being otherkin could be understood as a mental illness or a departure from reality, etc., so definitely read through it.

Also, while searching on the Internet I came across this question on Reddit about whether transness and Gnosticism are related because, like being trans-age and trans-species, being transgender purportedly requires that one takes leave from reality by denying one's body, etc., as Gnosticism is believed to require one to do.

Though a layperson of anthropology and things so I may be fully wrong, it seems to be the case that in non-Western cultures there are social categories and things for people who are said to have spirits, souls, etc., of non-humans, e.g., and this seems to be accepted quite un-controversially.

Should social, legal categories for one to be a different age, species, etc., be crafted for people who feel this way?

Are trans-age and trans-species valid concept that should be embraced?

Based off a quick search hereon, I did find this and something from this post which was interesting and exactly addressed my question, specifically this part:

I have to also say that if gender identity is just subjective--- meaning that one is whatever one says one is, or whatever one feels oneself to be --- does that mean that one who doesn't feel human (like people who are otherkins don't) are not human in some way?

  • "If one can do X then one can do Y" is a general pattern of a fallacy known as false analogy. It does not mean that all analogies are invalid but it does mean that superficial analogizing of this sort is a poor model of reasoning. Each case has to be analyzed separately as to its biological/psychological basis, cultural aspects, social consequences, etc. It has been done extensively in the case of gender (which is culturally influenced, not "subjective"), and until it is done in other cases we can not tel whether they are really analogous or not.
    – Conifold
    Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 21:36
  • Have a look at this post: philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/39414/…. And also Rebecca Tuvel’s In Defense of Transracialism, in Hypatia vol. 32, no. 2 (Spring 2017).
    – gonzo
    Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 21:57
  • I have made a report to close this question. I think there are valid ways to ask about the nature of age, species, gender and trans-gender identification, but there is a “person as spectacle” way of thinking about it at work in this question that doesn’t seem to recognise the human beneath the phenomenon. The quality of the answers submitted reflects a subtle structural hostility to trans people themselves contributing to the discussion; I submit that it needs substantial reworking to invite good faith engagement from informed participants. Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 20:43

4 Answers 4


I would approach this primarily as a political question. In the case of transgender people, it is very clear that we have a political movement demanding specific and concrete forms of recognition, and making various arguments for these demands. Are otherkin, for example, making similar demands in any serious way? It's not clear to me that they are.

There may be a secondary question here, which is more in the realm of clinical psychology. Gender dysphoria is an empirically documented and partially "treatable" condition listed in the DSM. This may be contested politically, but it is based on a degree of objective evidence for the existence of gender dysphoria which does not yet exist for age dysphoria or species dysphoria.

Finally I would point out that "gender identity is just subjective" is not a serious argument I see anyone making here. That seems to be a common misconception. If that were the case though, why would transgender people take hormones or get surgery? What transgender people and their allies are saying instead is that the subjective experience of one's gender matters and should be recognized in particular ways. That's not the same thing.

  • I agree with everything you said, but there are a few points over which I do wish to go with you: though gender dysphoria is an empirical, DSM-recognised thing, what if one's species dysphoria or age dysphoria came into being, and what if a movement to allow persons to identify as another age & or species came into being? Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 9:48
  • Sadly this whole "I identify as..." thing is often taken way out of context, or "to it's logical extreme" according to most critics of the trans rights movement, but what would be your response to these things? I mean, what about being trans-abled, i.e. identifying as deaf, blind, disabled, "crippled", or something like these people?: youtu.be/beZnTZD1wHM Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 9:50
  • I don't have any opinion about hypothetical disorders. I didn't watch the whole video but I'm not seeing anything of substance there. In all of these cases, we're simply talking about apparent dissonance between people's internal and external identities. The only thing that makes gender fundamentally different, at least it seems to me, is that transgender people have a much stronger political case for recognition.
    – Brian Z
    Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 11:42
  • I absolutely agree with you about transgender people's having more of a political case and basis for their rights. Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 12:49
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    @English Learner In the countries where the movement is popular, what rights are not afforded those who claim to be trans? There are no legal rights I know of afforded to the non-trans that are not afforded to the trans. Also, “according to most critics of the trans rights movement”? I doubt that’s true. Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 18:36

One thing to consider is that there is gender reassignment surgery, but nothing like that for age or species. The age case is irrevocable at least inasmuch as it would remain true that a person had existed for a given length of time, even if biological accompaniments of normal aging were halted or reversed. Advanced enough tech might allow a person to be turned into another species, though ultimately consciousness would have to be transferred to a new brain, with all the questions of personal identity this raises.

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    You posit that “One thing to consider is that there is gender reassignment surgery, but nothing like that for age or species.” If this is the criteria, how about apotemnophilia? The “desire to have one or more healthy body parts and especially a limb removed by amputation,” [i.e. This supposedly healthy arm is not mine, or I identify with a being having only one arm, so I want it cut off?]. Or suicidal ideation, the desire that one should no longer exist. Are these disorders, or simply desires that because medically feasible, should, be satisfied?
    – gonzo
    Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 1:15
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    Or consider a parent, who must wrestle with the decision as a guardian in in such contexts.
    – gonzo
    Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 1:16
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    "I identify as one-armed," or, "I identify as dead," then? Being one-armed doesn't seem comprehensive enough to county as an "identity" (in the relevant sense), and unless there's a soul (or whatever), dying destroys our "identity," so one wonders whether the latter would be "identifying as having no identity"? Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 3:10
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    “There is gender reassignment surgery, but nothing like that for age or species”. This presupposes one ideology’s definition of what the word “gender” should be. Some argue “gender reassignment surgery” simply changes superficial features to make someone appear some way without changing gender. Cosmetic surgery can be performed to make someone’s age (or species) seem different without actually being different. The argument is that it’s all cosmetic. Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 18:43
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    Gender dysphoria existed before reassignment surgery. So the point here seems lost, to me. A problem does not need an approach toward a solution in order to exist. Commented May 1, 2020 at 14:17

You can’t just identify yourself as transgender. You are, or you are not. Lying about it, to yourself or to others, doesn’t make a difference.

Trans-age seems ridiculous, but there are a few (very few) cases of people whose apparent age is not the same as their real age. There are some people in their twenties who appear to everyone either as 12 year old, or as 80 year old. Caused by different illnesses. Very similar to a transgender woman: “You look at me and think I’m a man, but I’m not. I’m a woman” we have the first person saying “You look at me and think I’m a child, but I’m not. I’m an adult”.

But your example was about people “identifying themselves” as something they are not. That sixty year old woman identifying herself as a child is not a child.

With trans-species the same thing: People who identify themselves as aliens don’t become a different species because of that. It is of course not entirely impossible and a common subject in SF movies that someone looking like a human is indeed another species - you might call Clark Kent “trans-species” if you meet him.

The only difference is that due to human biology, trans-gender happens a lot more often than trans-age (maybe less than a dozen cases) or trans-species (no known cases).

  • What about being trans-able? Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 17:12

Identity is a cognitive (mental) phenomenon, not a biological one. That's true whether one is considering one's own identity or the identity of someone else. Not that long ago (historically speaking) most professional identities were attached to the male gender. The idea of a 'female' doctor or a 'female' lawyer wasn't just strange or amusing: it was decidedly offensive to many people, who considered it an outrageous suggestion. Such people 'knew' that women were biologically incapable of performing surgery or crafting rational arguments.

Of course, these days no one blinks twice at women who are doctors or lawyers, mostly because certain women dared to identify themselves as doctors and lawyers, and pushed up against the socially imposed identity until it gave way. These professional identities have now been separated from the traditional concept that women are intrinsically (as a matter of biology) too frail and limited to undertake such tasks. However, that points at the idea that gender identity is itself something separate from biology. And that's where we find ourselves today, with certain people identifying themselves as a gender different from the gender identity imposed on them by society, and pushing up against those social restrictions.

With resect to age, it's a well-known trope in psychology that age-identity is highly subjective. Or sense of age does not develop in line with our biological aging, but changes fluidly according to context, social position, and life experience. The tropes of an old person being 'young at heart', or a young person being an 'old soul' are not mere tropes, but accurate reflections of subjective experience.

Trans-species identification I can't speak to. I know there are people who do not identify themselves as human, whether they identify themselves as an alien species or — as in some well-studied cases — believe that they are in fact dead. But the act of having an identity is deeply tied to human cognition and behavior. Someone who identified as (say) a horse in a human's body could not possibly engage in typical 'horse' behaviors, and could not 'think' the way that a horse thinks since that would imply abandoning the linguistic structures that allow an identity to become conscious.

The point is that cognitive identity is not tied to biology, though it generally conforms to biology for both developmental and sociological reasons. Any difference between inner identity and sociologically imposed identity — both of which are cognitive in nature — will inevitably cause conflict. But that conflict cannot be resolved by a simplistic appeal to biology.

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    This is a very ideological answer, with standard unproven talking points from one side of the isle. “The point is that cognitive identity is not tied to biology” is simply incorrect. Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 18:28
  • @JustSomeOldMan: The fact that you disagree with it doesn't make it ideological or incorrect. Identities are inherently cognitive. The fact that you happen to associate your identity as a male with your anatomical structure is also cognitive: a cognitive feature of your identity. That is the perspective that you need to start from, or you will get nowhere, analytically speaking. If you want to work backwards and somehow attach that cognitive identity to anatomical features, fine; but that involves a decent amount of analytical work. Your presumptions don't fit the bill. Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 19:12
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    That which is cognitive is affected by the brain. The brain is part of one’s biology. Gender is also commonly accepted to be related to one’s biology. The first sentence in your OP erects a false dichotomy pushed by a political fringe. I can’t comment on the rest of your comment because it sets up a straw man. I never implied an association between identity and anatomy doesn’t have a cognitive aspect. Also, please do not presume I am male. I identify as an exceptional young female. Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 19:52
  • @JustSomeOldMan: your screen name identifies you as a man. If you prefer not to be addressed that way, that's fine, all you need to do is let me know. I will use feminine constructions in addressing you from now on. However, the point stands: how you relate to you anatomy is a cognitive matter, not a biophysical one. If you want to make a causal relationship between anatomy and gender identity (as you implied above, although the argument you actually gave was merely correlative), then you have to establish the mechanism by which subjective experience is created by the physical brain. Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 20:11
  • @JustSomeOldMan: unfortunately, neuropsychology is not even remotely close to establishing that mechanism. You are far ahead of the science, trying to pass mere speculation off as fact. All we can say for certain now is that gender identity correlates fairly well with anatomical gender, but it clearly does not correlate 100%. What that less-than-perfect correlation means is still up in the air. Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 20:14

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