Latinx: Why You Should Start Using The Term

Spanish is very much a gendered language; the masculinized form of words is what’s considered gender neutral. There’s a term in Spanish called machismo, and it is an exaggerated pride in masculinity. This lifestyle seems to exclude genders outside of the male and female binary, and reinforce patriarchal norms. The term “Latinx,” pronounced LAH-teen-ex, came to be a gender neutral term that includes Latinos who are transgender, gender non-conforming and gender-fluid.

Our community is changing. The Latinx community is evolving; we now make up over 17 percent of the U.S. population. With such a growing community, we have begun talking more about gender and LGBTQ issues. Our community is very much an impactful presence in this country, and this term is helping to define us a little more.

Before Latinx, there was a total divide regarding gender inequality expressed through the Spanish language. Take the following example: There are many Latina ladies in a room, but there is also one Latino man. Because of his sole presence in the room, the language used to refer to them all is Latinos, not Latinas; all because of one man! This existing sexism is one that the term Latinx looks to fight against.

The term Latinx also embraces our indigenous roots. As a proud mestiza, I make sure to embrace my indigenous heritage and to not be ashamed of it. The letter “X” was found in several indigenous languages, like Nahuatl. Spanish, however, was a language forced upon the indigenous people of Latin America. Therefore, by embracing the “X,” we are embracing our ancestors’ past and sacrifices.

Although the word Latinx hasn’t officially been added to the dictionary, a spokesperson for Merriam-Webster, Inc. told NBC that “Latinx is a word we are watching but… has not yet been added to any of our dictionaries.”

During this day and age we are living in, it’s important to promote inclusivity and compassion. So the next time you want to use the word Latino, try using Latinx instead.  

Photo credits: swarthmorephoenix.com

washingtontimes.com