Alhi Leconte/Staff Writer
The word “Latinx” (pronounced “La-teen-ex”) is meant to increase gender inclusivity and help those who feel limited by the Spanish language gendering them. Its objective is to move the Latin American culture forward.
Because the Spanish language is heavily gendered, using ”Latinx” is a way to reverse the forced gendered terms the language has placed upon its people.
The word is not to be used in place of “Latino” or “Latina,” which don’t take into account gender identities that differ from male and female. Instead, Latinx is meant to be used in addition to those words.
Although the term may confuse some, “Latinx” is real and the “x” is not a spelling error — it’s the gender neutral alternative to “Latino” or “Latina.” Where Latino has been considered gender neutral because of its masculinity and dominance, it’s also used to represent a group of people regardless of gender.
“I think that the term Latinx was created because there was a need for more gender inclusive representation within the Spanish language and there are many people who identify as Latinx who don’t exist within the man/woman binary,” Richard Moreno, a MPAS LGBTQA Initiatives’ graduate assistant, said. Incorporating the x has those symbolic purposes.”
Latinx is an umbrella term which enables the entire Latin American population to be represented through a word without the pressure of being gendered or defaulting to using Latino.
Like the term “queer,” which the LGBTQ community uses to identify everyone as a whole and not just the subcommunities, the term “Latinx” is inclusive of all Latin American people’s genders and identities.
It includes people who are transgender, queer, non-binary, gender fluid, gender nonconforming, and agender.
Over the past few years, people have started to notice of the existence of the term, but still remain oblivious to its meaning and intention.
Data found on Google Trends marks that the use of the term Latinx began in 2004, but it wasn’t until 2015 that social media began popularizing the use of the term and it started gaining recognition beyond the LGBTQIA community.
You can assume that anything involving gender or equality in this century will be met with resistance, outrage and negativity. Detractors of the word “Latinx” claiming it disrespects the Spanish language and Latin Americans fail to consider that its goal is to include the whole Latin American population.
The simple fact is that some people who identify as “Latinx” don’t feel like “Latino” or “Latina” applies to them.
“Language is fluid and language changes all the time. Even within the English language there are various different colloquialisms and different cultures that use English in particular ways. That’s the same that happens with Spanish,” Moreno said. “In general, language changes and the change is based on the needs of the society that uses it.”
A third option of a word to describe people of Latin American descent doesn’t butcher a language and doesn’t take away from a culture. Language changes over time just as people evolve, and eventually, Latinx will gain traction because of the people who use it.
Not all Latin Americans should feel obligated to identify as Latinx and not everyone has to be a fan of the word, but they should respect that the people who do use. Deeming it unnecessary does more harm than the good it attempts to make.
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Photo taken from Flickr.