The times, they are a changin’. In a society that is actively trying to be more inclusive, especially in how others are addressed, language has definitely been shifted. There have been many instances where “x” has replaced certain letters from words in order to make them more inclusive. A popular example of this is the identifying term ‘Latinx’, where the “x” replaced the “o” or “a” (depending on which is used) in Latino/a. The idea behind this is to include people from Latin American origin who may not identify with either term.
However, even ‘Latinx’ has its faults. Despite the term’s acknowledgement of gender binary (and lack thereof) within the Latin American community, ‘Latinx’ is not very inclusive towards the ethnic group it is referring to. The fact that we are redefining language to include queer folks is a step forward, but it is important to ensure new terms makes sense for the group at hand. In Spanish, ‘Latinx’ is almost rarely ever used due to all the grammatical limitations it has. Romance and Germanic languages have very different rules in terms of conjugation and feminine/masculine noun agreements, so expecting Spanish-speaking people to adopt this anglicized term is unrealistic.
This conflict begs the important question: is there any other term that can cater to Spanish and Latin populations while also representing the inclusion of gender queer folk? I believe so.
Introducing the revolutionary: Latine (lah-tee-neh)!
Not only is it easier to pronounce for Spanish speakers, but it also serves the same function as ‘Latinx’. In fact, ‘Latine’ even goes beyond just neutralizing the term Latino/a by also making the conjugations neutral.
All the feminine-masculine conjugations that normally end in “a” or “o” would end with the neutral “e”. So, instead of saying amigos or amigas, it would be amigues. Instead of ellos or ellas, it would be elles. It rolls off the tongue more naturally and grammatically makes logical sense. ‘Latine’ changes and adapts to the Spanish language with an alternative that Spanish-speakers can actually use rather than forcing the adoption of English preferences.
With this alteration, many more people in Latin America or Spanish-speaking areas would be encouraged to include gender neutrality in their everyday vocabulary. Although ‘Latinx’ serves as a substantial stepping stone, it is time to move on and start using the more appropriate ‘Latine’ in casual contexts. Not only does this new groundbreaking term adhere to the language of the people it is referring to, but it also helps LGBTQ+ ‘Latines’ find themselves represented culturally and correctly.