DEAR MISS MANNERS: I live in a small suburb and know the local shopkeepers well -- including Jessica, the young lady who works at the pet shop. We call each other by our first names, but lately it seems to me that she is no longer a young lady, but is becoming a young man.
I don't want to call her Jessica if she no longer identifies as female. Should I ask her employer if she still goes by that name, or should I continue to call her Jessica until someone corrects me?
GENTLE READER: It is a long-standing Miss Manners rule not to make assumptions until you have been given the information personally.
Perhaps you can take advantage of the pandemic -- especially if you have not visited in a while -- and reintroduce yourself the next time you see this shopkeeper, providing an opening to do likewise. You might also ask the employer if nametags are an option.