Birds Of A Feather

By and for Bird-People

Dysphoria is not always about wings and tails.


Dysphoria is not always about wings and tails.

[Contains sexual content.]

Dysphoria is not always about wings and tails, though, it’s what people think of. It’s even what I think of, when I talk about feeling uncomfortable with a human form. I think about the ache in my shoulder blades when my wing chakras are doing… whatever they do that makes them feel all blocked up when I try to do magic. I think about feet wrong, skin wrong, need clawsfeathersflyflyfly.

But sometimes, it’s different things. More dysphoria than dysmorphia, I guess, uncomfortable with the whole human role rather than just the body.

I realised last night, a lot of the reason I am uncomfortable socially, is because I can’t be an animal, socially. Humans have replaced a lot of the animal ways of managing social life, with layers of “politeness” and “manners” and complicated codes. This is not natural for me, and, let’s be honest… it’s not natural for any being, humans included. People made this up. It’s artificial. Yes, animals do have social codes, but they are a lot more simple than the ones humans expect.

It is not polite of me to hiss when someone is invading my space. In fact, it is considered a sign of mental illness – simply to do what all animals do, and the human is an animal too, if you insist to see me as human, though I protest against that. It is not polite of me, if I am having a bad day, a painful day, an anti-social day, to decide that I will do my tasks out of the house with as little interaction as I can, and hiss, when someone tries to catcall at me, or asks too many questions. I can’t raise my wings to look more like a threat, and I can’t do the human version, hold out my arms in a threat pose.

Because, in human society, threat is not okay. Threat is a serious thing. It is not something that people manage in a simple way: submissive posture if you do not wish to challenge the threat, or, return the threat if you do. It should be that simple: do you accept that I don’t wish to be bothered, and walk away, not taking it as personal offence but simply an animal behaviour, or do you continue to bother me and start a challenge?

If “social skills” were like this, I could handle them. Threat and not-threat, it takes two moments to understand. It is not all these layers of dodging politeness and making up words in my human mouth with my human tongue, to work out what I need to say that will not offend the person but also make them leave me alone. Most animals rarely have politeness. They simply express true feelings.

So, I must go out in the society and use the very complex, human displays of feeling. And then, there is also… a strange shifty feeling, I was having last night. Normally, I am a person who dresses in clothes that are modest, but femme. I like long flowy skirts, and cute shirts, etc. But, last night, I was having a strong feeling… even though I was in bed, and not going anywhere, I felt vulnerable, in a retrograde way. Thinking of all the times I went out like that. I wanted to wear jeans, and a heavy hoodie. I wanted to hide my shape. Not because of gender dysphoria, but, species dysphoria.

Because, to shifty swan mind… the human body is signalling all the time, “I am ready for sex”. Humans do not have a breeding season, humans do not have a way that their body signals that sexual time, the feather colour does not change, there is not a part of the body that changes colour or shape (…well yes, there is that. >.> But, not a visible part). And… that makes swan mind uncomfortable. That makes swan mind want to hide. Because, swan mind has a breeding season. It is not now! So, must hide body. Must hide human body that does not turn off the things that attract humans, does not make them disappear. Must make them disappear, under clothes, so no one can see.

Parts of mind that know about social justice know, it is not something I should have to do, hide my body, so that I will not be treated sexually. It is the responsibility of people looking at me to control their selves. (I make it sound like I make people lose control, haha. (´・ω・`;)) But, it’s not about “should”. It’s about swan mind. Swan mind does not like the human sexual display. It does not matter if people do anything with it. Swan mind does not like.

So, this is what shiftyswan deals with when going out. Dysphoria is strange, and not always what you expect. Or, even what I expect.


  1. Ugh, when you talked about all those complexities of the human communication I could completely understand. Its always been like that for me, even though I realize the distance I made from people throughout my developing years created more then enough misunderstanding.

    I understand what’s expected of me from people when I communicate with them, I understand but my mind doesn’t like it. Its too complex, too unnecessary and its overwhleming; why should all these formalities exist when there are simpler solutions. At the same time though, I find it humorous to imagine what two non-human birds stuck in awkward human bodies would look like trying to communicate with their proper body language and sounds, haha!

  2. I find some social custom’s a little odd, such as this whole thing about nakedness being a grave taboo. Additionally many Human’s are very uptight, and easily offended. I don’t understand why other people can’t just, let it all go. Relax, close your eye’s and and gently ease the telephone pole back out of your bum.

    I can follow these custom’s, and logically understand how they work and how they came about. Though I have been told I am rather socially inept. I suspect that’s more due to early brain damage then avianity however. Then again I have a hard time disserning my precise “nature” and how it impacts me. I am not your common everyday corvid, but the American Indian Trickster type. Which really throw’s thing’s for a spin,

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    Oh my god THANK YOU for posting this. Same boat….and when I slip its not pretty because I come from a family that would rather take the challenge road than the just leave her alone road. I can’t stand human customs, like someone immediately going up to me, “GOOD MORNING!!!” As soon as I drag myself out of bed. That’s begging me to slip into angry hawk mode. All the politeness, the politically correct things…so unnecessary to a bird.

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