The Professor And Inventor Who Identifies As A Cheetah Named ‘Spottacus’


If a male can identify as a female and a white woman can identify as a black woman, why can’t a human being identify as a cheetah? In today’s world, the answer is: Why not? More power to you!

Though shocking, I am actually describing a well-known, well-documented phenomenon. In this instance I’m speaking of a highly accomplished, specific individual.

As the headline on the PCMag website announced, “Your Smartwatch’s Heart Rate Monitor Was Developed by a Furry.” Yes, “Dr. David Benaron is an inventor whose team at Stanford laid the groundwork for the optical heart rate monitor. He’s also a cheetah named Spottacus.”

Before continuing about humans identifying as animals (called furries or otherkin or therian), consider that Dr. Benaron is obviously a brilliant man. He’s “a biochemist, inventor, and entrepreneur. He studied at Harvard and MIT, taught at Stanford, and has founded and served in the C-suites of multiple biotech companies. He developed the sensor that enables heart rate monitoring on wearables like smartwatches, and has made advances in the field of optical blood-oxygen monitoring as well.”

And Dr. Benaron lives among us as a normal human being. Put another way, you will not find him trying to chase down a gazelle in the Serengeti. And, without having researched this carefully, I feel reasonably sure that Dr. Benaron does not run after dogs in his neighborhood and, if the catch is successful, proceeds to devour them raw.

So, he is hardly some raving lunatic, foaming at the mouth and growling.

Instead, he’s the genius who invented one of the key components that many people now use every day, helping us monitor our heart health.

At the same time, he “assumed the name Spottacus in the 90s, joining the then-fledgling furry community. At his friends’ suggestion, he attended his first furry convention, Further Confusion, in the early aughts. He has since been active in furry communities. He chose the name ‘Spottacus’ as a play on the name ‘Spartacus’ said in a Brooklyn accent, and because he tends to favor spotted cats.”

Is this all new to you? Well, you’re in for some more surprises.

While doing research for my 2015 book “Outlasting the Gay Revolution,” I learned that this psychological condition is called “species dysphoria.” (Obviously, this is akin to gender dysphoria, except here, the person does not feel trapped in the wrong body in terms of gender but feels as if they are part – or all – animal trapped in a human body.)

Just how many people identify as “furries”? According to their own claims, there are hundreds of thousands. 

They find themselves identifying as animals during childhood (did you ever do that?), becoming more convinced of their animal identity as they get older. They dress up like animals and go to furry conventions. Some legally change their names to fit their animal identity. 

In fact, back in 2013, Logo TV, a gay TV channel, began airing a series called, “What? I Think I’m An Animal?” As the blurb explained, “I Think I’m An Animal reveals the truth behind the Otherkin movement’s furry costumes and explores what it’s like to inhabit an animal identity.”

One young man explained in the documentary, “Basically, other than the fact that I have a human body and human flesh, I am a wolf.”

He said that, for him, this was spiritual, psychological, and behavioral, and that going through school was a living hell since others didn’t recognize his real identity. He also claimed that he was personally aware of communities numbering in the hundreds of thousands who also identified as animals, including domestic cats, flies, and even insects. 

For them this was anything but make believe.

That’s why, rather than mock them, my heart truly goes out to them.

At the same time, reality says, “Stop!”

As I have said before, if perception is substituted for reality, there is no end to the social madness that follows.

  • You do not just have a man being named Woman of the Year.
  • You do not just have a white woman who identifies as black.
  • You have a father of 7 who identifies as a 6-year-old girl.
  • You have a man who identifies as a dog named “Boomer.”
  • You have a young lady who believes she is a cat trapped in a woman’s body.
  • You have a man who has his ears removed because he identifies as a parrot.
  • And you have a man who changed his identity to female but who has now had “her ears and nose removed to transform into a ‘dragon lady’ with scales, a forked tongue and a horned skull.”

But why not? More power to him/her/it! If that’s what he/she/it perceives himself/herself/itself to be, why not? So why can’t Dr. Benaron identify as a cheetah named Spottacus?

Well, I have an answer for that: It’s because of reality. It’s because, with all due respect to the many contributions made to society by the good doctor, he is not, in fact, part cheetah. Not even a little.

He explained to PCMag, “As a child, I didn’t relate to my peers socially. Everyone else made eye contact, while I tended to look away. I couldn’t understand why they found certain things important. The boys liked sports, while I liked reading. I felt very ‘alien.’ I worried, ‘will I ever fit in?’ I related to animals, though. I loved cats and dogs and wild things. I crawled on all-fours and purred and meowed.”

This is reportedly a common experience of many furries, while the feeling of not fitting in is common to the stories of many LGBTQ+ individuals as well.

But this, in turn, leads us back to reality.

When our oldest granddaughter was little, she was a passionate horse lover and would gallop around the house on all fours. But rather than identifying as a horse, she became an avid horse rider, like her mom and grandmother and aunt and younger cousin.

Had she ended up identifying as a horse rather than taking up horse riding, her parents would have gotten her serious counseling rather than bought her a saddle to wear on her back.

The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire. 

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