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The Public Universal Friend: Celebrating a Trailblazing Gender-Fluid Prophet

Few figures in history have been as unconventional as the Public Universal Friend. Born Jemima Wilkinson in 1752, this trailblazing prophet claimed to be the second coming of Christ, spread a message of universal love and acceptance, and challenged traditional gender roles in the late 18th century. Let's take a closer look at the life of this remarkable individual and celebrate their legacy.



Becoming The Friend


First, let's acknowledge the Friend's chosen name. While some may find it unconventional, it was a reflection of their desire to connect with people from all walks of life. By identifying as the Public Universal Friend, they emphasized their commitment to promoting unity and inclusivity.

But the Friend's gender identity was perhaps their most revolutionary aspect. After experiencing a fever in 1776, Jemima had a transformative vision in which they were visited by the spirit of God and instructed to abandon their female identity. From that point on, they presented themselves as a man, wearing masculine attire and adopting male pronouns.

While this decision was undoubtedly controversial, it was a powerful assertion of the Friend's right to self-expression. They challenged gender norms at a time when society was highly restrictive, and by doing so, opened doors for future generations of gender-nonconforming individuals.


Love is the Message


An Androgynous Preacher Preaching To A Flock Of Sheep In A Field
Wake up sheeple!

The Friend's message of love and acceptance was another key aspect of their teachings. They traveled throughout communities, preaching the importance of treating others with kindness and respect, regardless of their backgrounds or beliefs. Even animals were said to be drawn to their sermons, a testament to the Friend's ability to connect with all living beings.

Of course, the Friend's message was not without its strictures. They forbade their followers from partaking in activities like drinking alcohol, using tobacco, or engaging in sexual activity. While these rules may seem strict to modern eyes, they were a reflection of the Friend's belief in leading a virtuous life.

The Friend's prophetic abilities were also a significant part of their teachings. They predicted the end of the world and claimed that they alone would be saved from the coming apocalypse. While none of their predictions came to pass, the Friend's ability to inspire hope and faith in their followers was undeniable.


Death of The Friend


In 1819, Jemima Wilkinson passed away after contracting typhus. Instead of being buried in a traditional manner, they were embalmed and placed in a sealed coffin in a secret location. Their followers believed that the Friend was simply “resting,” and that they would one day rise again.

The process of embalming would make such a return quite painful. During this process, the body is filled with a fluid which prevents decay. Organs are punctured and deflated as the body transforms into a macabre doll.


In conclusion, the Public Universal Friend was a visionary and trailblazing figure in 18th-century America. They challenged societal norms around gender and preached a message of universal love and acceptance that resonates to this day. Just remember that this love isn't of a physical kind, keep your hands off of each other if you want to get to heaven.


While their teachings may not have been perfect, their legacy as a gender-fluid prophet who sought to bring people together is one to be celebrated.


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