Define “Latinx”

Karen Padilla

November 27th, 2019

For years we have grown up using the terms Latino or Latina, but in recent years the term Latinx has risen. Many people do not understand why an ‘x’ was added to the term, however it is a term coined to be inclusive to all people. Latinx helps to group those who do not conform to a certain gender, which was coined in 2004 by the LGBT community, however by 2014-2015, people from academia, journalists and activists recognized the term. If we revert to the Spanish language, every person, object, or place has a feminine or masculine pronoun, however there are people who identify as gender fluid, gender non-conforming, genderqueer, queer, etc. Latinx was created for people of Latin origin to be included in any conversation without referring to male or female only. Such as people who do not use she/her/him/his, instead their pronouns are they/their.

There is a difference between sex and gender, being that sex is the biological aspect while gender is the psychological aspects of sex. To put it into perspective, let’s put the example of a color, a color can be assigned gender as a masculine or feminine object, however a color cannot
be assigned sex. The biological and psychological aspects of a person are two separate entities. Thus, the inclusivity of Latinx is based on gender and denotes a gender neutral term that separates the masculine or feminine nouns that we recognize from other languages such as Spanish. In order to differentiate sex and gender, we can compare it to how sometimes being
Hispanic or Latinx are confused. Hispanic refers to people who speak Spanish or are descended from Spanish-speaking populations, while Latino refers to people who are descended from people in Latin or South America. Furthermore, a person from Brazil is considered Latinx but are not Hispanic because their native language is not Spanish.

How do you even pronounce Latinx? “It can be pronounced several ways: Using the same pattern as Latino (lah TEE nex, rhyming with ‘kleenex’) or in English (LAT in EX). A few people even say ‘lah TEENKS, However, Latin “equis” (as you would pronounce the letter “x” in
Spanish), is not typically used.” [1] The legitimacy of this term is real rather than just being a trend, the Merriam-Webster and the Oxford English Dictionary have included Latinx it as a word. It is essential for people to acknowledge that this term exists for those who do not conform to gender.

Latinx represents all people, no one is left out or is dismissed for their identity, moreso it incorporates us all. Somos Latinx!

Sources:

[1] Gonzalez, Irina. “Why Did ‘Latinx’ Get Popular-And What Does It Mean?” Oprah Magazine , Oprah Magazine, 15 Sept. 2019, www.oprahmag.com/life/a28056593/latinx-meaning/.

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the author only. It is not to be assumed that the opinions are those of GALEO or the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. For the official position on any issue for GALEO, please contact Jerry Gonzalez, Executive Director of GALEO at jerry@galeo.org.

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