This question is inspired by the following question over on Academia.SE: Should students' nonhuman identity be taken seriously in classroom settings?

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission notes:

In Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, No. 17-1618 (S. Ct. June 15, 2020),[1] the Supreme Court held that firing individuals because of their sexual orientation or transgender status violates Title VII’s prohibition on discrimination because of sex.

Individuals who identify as non-human animals report sexual aspects of their identity to academic researchers (Brooks et al 2022. PMID 35576143):

evidence was found that most furries did, indeed, report being sexually attracted to various facets of their furry interest (e.g., furry-themed media) and were sexually motivated to engage in various furry-themed behaviors (e.g., interacting with other furries)

Thus, my question is if individuals who identify as non-human animals are members of a protected class with respect to employment discrimination. Could such an individual assert this protection through the sexual orientation class?

The question focuses on the United States, but I would also be interested in prospectives from around the world.

2 Answers 2


In the US, no. This is because "protected class" is defined statutorily for a particular purpose, for example "civil rights", "employment", "housing". There can be variation in federal vs. state or municipal protected classes and what classes have which rights (e.g. "race" is included in all protected classes but pregnancy-discrimination is not federally protected w.r.t. housing), but so far nobody has defined "self-identifies as non-human" as a protected class.

If Congress were to pass a blanket law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of species, then (1) it would be illegal to not consider my dog as a job candidate and (2) it would be illegal to take into consideration whether a job candidate is a human versus a dog or a fern. But there is no such law.

"Non-binary" is not, per se, a protected class. The rationale of Bostock v. Clayton County is that one cannot legally discriminate based on whether a person is male or female, therefore one cannot legally discriminate based on whether one is a male who has sex with a female versus whether one is a male who has sex with a male, or whether one is a male who abjures sex, because they all reduce to discrimination based on whether one is male (or female). It's not legal to discriminate against furries based on whether they are male or are female, but being a furry is itself a protected class.

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    "* being a furry is itself a protected class.* Is there supposed to be a "not" in this sentence? May 31 at 19:56

Not for identifying as a furry, but they might have some protection under the ADA for non-discrimination based on a mental handicap. This might protect them to some degree with respect to housing, education, and certain lines of employment.

You can google for more on ADA protections, but some can be found here:



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