There's a lot of discussion going on about gender identity and gender politics, and I find myself easily confused by the multitude of options for gender pronouns. To solve this, it'd be easier just to ask someone what they'd like to be called, but in most cultures (Mine in the US included), it's rude to ask someone what their gender is. I've gotten responses from (not the people I'd like to ask) from horror to "He's Crazy!". I've also gotten negative responses from askees as well, and I want to try to avoid this in the future.
This wouldn't usually be an issue when trying to talk to them, just wording phrases to use "them" is a pretty easy work around. It's an issue when I need their preferred gender for filling out forms for them and such.
How can I ask someone what their preferred gender pronoun is without offending them?