DEAR MISS MANNERS: How do I address an invitation to any individual who has dual personas? As we frequently host rather large social events, I am always striving to set an example for proper protocol.
We have several friends who are gender-fluid. One in particular is very well-known in the local community, news media and political arena as both a male and a female, with different names for each persona.
I would like to know how to extend an invitation to someone in this situation without dictating which “version” of them I would like to appear at our event. I’m basically expecting the invitee to decide who to be and what to wear.
Should we send two separate invitations to the same address, each with the appropriate name? Or one invitation with both names (which looks like we are inviting a couple)? Or simply decide which persona we want to appear at our event, and address the invitation to only one?
I prefer to pass the buck, and offer the freedom of self-determination to the invitee, but am unsure how to do so.
GENTLE READER: Issue one invitation and address it using the conjunction “or” between the two names. That way your guest is free to decide which persona will be attending.
Miss Manners notes that the polite response for any guest is to confirm who among the invitees will actually be there (“Thank you for inviting both my husband and me, but unfortunately only I will be able to attend”). However, she assumes that in this case, you will be pleased -- and not surprised -- to greet either one.