I offer Public Universal Friend, reborn genderless in 1776, as a counterpoint to people who think non-binary identities are a new thing.

"...the Friend asked not to be referred to with gendered pronouns; followers respected these wishes, avoiding gender-specific pronouns even in their private diaries, and referring only to "the Public Universal Friend" or short forms such as "the Friend" or "P.U.F."[25]"

The Talk page is adorable.

"Misuse of plural pronouns does violence to the language. It also makes numerous sentences incomprehensible, as the reader's head begins to spin trying to figure out who "they" are."

That's a mood.

English: "pwease no steppy"

Also English: "Loanword? No, we're keeping this."

Heated Stack Overflow debate over whether Universal Friend should be public or private.

@fourelephants Everyone is always asking "Who is they?" No one ever asks how is they.

@Kye actual LOL at this given the pronoun discourse the quakers are most well known for today

@Kye i love it when people’s heads start spinning around me


Wow, that's so cool! The Public Universal Friend sounds like one of the coolest people ever. The Friend wasn't in the Nonbinary Wiki yet, so I'm adding the Friend to that Wiki now.

In the history of nonbinary gender:

And in the list of notable nonbinary people:


@Kye i absolutely love how wikipedia refers to them as "the Friend"

@Kye I love how wikipedia is like "others have viewed the preacher as transgender" - they are the literal definition of transgender wtf - It's like I'm sitting on a thing that has four legs and surface for sitting on and a backrest and saying "others have viewed this as a chair.... I'm not sure what it is"

@Kye gods i appreciate this person's name what a fuckin power name i can only hope to achieve this level of nonbinary aesthetic

@spiders Friend is another word for Quaker, but I'm sure they thought about how nice it sounded.

@Kye @spiders quakers didn't preach sexual abstinence, but the Friend did… wonder if they were ace, too?

@spiders @Kye same, I too would like to be a Public Universal Friend,

@Kye interesting to note how, as far as I can tell, the article dodges pronouns altogether
I guess this lines up with people writing "the Friend" in diaries and such - was the Friend no-pronouns, I wonder?

@dartigen @Kye It *is* a title! It's the universal "Quaker" mode of address.

This badass was literally out there like "I have better things to do with my time than ~personal names.~ Just call me Friend, Friend.

@Kye I'll have you know I was haing a Really Hard Time TM tonight re: dysphoria, and learning about The Friend really delighted me. Thank you so, so much for sharing!

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