The first time I met someone who used they/them pronouns, I too struggled with the potential lack of grammatical clarity. It didn't take me terribly long to realize that the suffering I might endure as a result of occasional grammatical confusion was miniscule compared with the suffering trans and nonbinary folks endure as a result of our cis-heteronormative culture, and I'd much rather try to reduce the latter than the former. Hopefully it won't take Edward "Buzz" Webb and Laura Cooskey terribly long to realize the same (Mailbox, Sept. 19).
Indeed, reasonable alternative pronouns have been presented for years, but contrary to Cooskey's suggestion, AP Style has not adapted.
Nowadays I try to refer to anyone I don't know with they/them pronouns. I don't want to make assumptions about their gender or preferred pronouns based on their appearance.
Maggie McKnight, Arcata