DEAR ABBY: I am 17 and a senior in high school. During freshman year, one of my classmates was a boy I'll call "Alex." This year, I have been told that Alex has changed his name to "Aly," a more feminine name. Aly now sometimes dresses like a girl and sometimes like a boy.
What gender should I refer to Aly as? Would it be rude to ask my classmate which gender he/she identifies with? -- GENDER DILEMMA
DEAR G.D.: Considering that Aly could be in a process of transition, I not only don't think the question would be rude, I think it's an intelligent one. If you ask your classmate politely and privately, I'm sure Aly will be glad to answer.