Question: I was at a party last weekend and met someone whom I really enjoyed getting to know. Here’s the thing: I wasn’t sure about his or her gender identity, so I didn’t know what pronoun to use. Any advice?
Answer: Most of the time, we don’t actually need to use either a male or female pronoun when in conversation with an individual. That’s what “you” is for. But if you find yourself in a legitimate situation needing to know (by the way, idle curiosity doesn’t count) and the person’s name doesn’t do the trick, don’t make an assumption. Instead, just ask: “Which pronoun do you prefer?” Sure, it might be a bit awkward, but less so than getting it wrong.