RE: Why is the Therian/Kin community important to you?
This is probably going to sound callous, but as far as the community goes, I can take it or leave it. There are people in the community who I adore and feel a kinship with and others I don't.
As a rabbit and herbivore, I don't feel like there is really a place for me in the community. I think herbivores see therianthropy differently than carnivores and omnivores. From what I have seen, carnivores tend to lack a level of empathy that I require in my social relationships. If I had a dollar for every time someone from this site has talked to me like I was "dinner" or potential food to them, I could probably... idk, buy myself lunch or something.
I've stated this to some people, but I do not feel a strong desire to meet other therians irl. Even if there was a howl in my area, I likely would not go. One, because I am horribly busy and emotionally exhausted and two, because I don't think I would enjoy myself or feel comfortable. I don't feel listened to or taken seriously by some in the community. I have had my personal expertise, things that I have studied and earned a degree in, be ignored or contradicted. I find that I will be understanding and even employ a suspension of belief for the thoughts and ideals of others out of respect to them, but that same courtesy is not always returned.
There is such a strong desire in this community to be the "alpha" or the most knowledgeable/enlightened/strongest/best and while I know that is a biological drive, especially for many feral animals, it is not something I enjoy. In fact, it is something that is a major social turn off for me. I am not a competitive person and I don't really have any interest in taking part in displays of dominance/power. I have no illusions of who I am and my place within general society, as well as my place in the therian community.
I think for a society that literally requires people to be open-minded about identity, the therian community is quite often not only closed-minded, but stubborn and myopic. So many people cannot see past their own experience or personal view and it leads to others feeling like they are not good enough or not being heard.
So that being said, the community is not what is important to me. My friends that I have made through it are important to me. I stay because I hope things will get better, but, like I said, I don't really feel like I truly belong here. My experience, the experience of a rabbit/herbivore/prey therian is not represented well in the community. It leads me to do want to interact with the mass majority of the community. I'd rather just cut myself off and be alone. I don't feel like I belong in human or therian society, so why force myself to try to fit into two societies where I don't feel comfortable?
I hope this will change, but I don't think it will.
"The he-hare's feet go hop and skip,
The she-hare's eyes are muddled and fuddled.
Two hares running side by side, close to the ground,
How can they tell if I am he or she?"
-"The Ballad of Mulan"