Pronouns

Q. I’m editing an article in which the author interviews a transgender person who prefers the pronouns they/them. For example, the author writes, “During Harry’s senior year, they were one of five contestants.” Do I change the sentence to “he was” or leave it as the author wrote it to respect the politics of sexual transitioning? The article is published in a newsmagazine (not a scientific journal) for a professional association of psychological therapists.

A. Since the author makes a point of explaining the use of they/them, it would confuse things to disallow the usage. It seems to be one of the points of the article; to edit it out would be overstepping. If there’s some reason you think the usage—in spite of the explanation—doesn’t work, make a note to the author or assigning editor explaining the problem so it can be addressed.