LATINX

What does Latinx mean?

Latinx is a term that recently appeared in the vocabulary of many people, in particularly with young people of 13 to 34 years old or as researchers, including Neil Howe and William Strauss, call them millennials. Recently, academic researchers developed ways to express aspects of human identity, recognizing that this is a very complex thing to do. When it comes specifically to Latino identity the matter gets even more complex. Since Spanish language assigns gender to words (for example la mesa (table) is a female gender, while el libro (book) is male), more people are starting to explore ways to communicate in Spanish using words that are more inclusive of all genders, including women and people who don’t identify with neither female and male gender. I present to you Latinx. There are many reasons why many people chose to identify themselves using this term instead of using the traditional word Latino. After conducting an informal survey, we found 70 people who explained to us what Latinx mean to them:
How does a gender assigned word affect you or your community?
● “It erases Latina women.”
● “It is a general term used. Although people are becoming more aware of the different words used and what they mean.”
● “It seems to under-represent a lot of people”
● “It does not really affect my community and I tend not to pay much attention to the gendered term”
● “The French language has made me complacent with gendered term, and the whole concept of masculine being “neutral”. But I do agree that it’s problematic. I’ve started to sporadically use non-gendered words in French. It goes against my previous education and is not a reflex for me yet.”
● “Knowing that o is the masculine ending, it always seemed weird to me. Like men were somehow put first. My Spanish teacher explained that there could be a room with 100 women and if there was one man you would still use Nosotros. It always seemed weird.”
Most of the participants of this survey were millennials (67%). 58% identified themselves as females, 38% identified themselves as males and 67% said they were Latino/Latin@/Latinx.
Being a Latina I share many of the feelings expressed by the people who participated in the survey. Since the time when I was just a child, I thought it was strange that our language (Spanish) values male gender more than it does female. One of the comments that I felt I agreed with was about the use of the word nosotros (we, us) when the majority of people present are women. I think that Spanish language is inclusive of men, as this example shows, but it is not inclusive of women in any other situation.
Nevertheless, we are learning as a society that there are more gender identities besides “female” or “male” and we continue inventing ways to be more inclusive.
As a woman who fights to be more inclusive in all aspects of my life, the language, for me, is an important part to continue on with this fight.
As to the rest of the population, I want to include them and not only in my daily actions, but also in my language. That is why I support the use of Latinx to represent my people.
My Hola Iowa editor favors the traditional term of Latino or Latina.

What do you think? Would you use the word Latinx?

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