Over the years, people have continuously created new terms in order to be more inclusive to all existing groups of the human population. This has especially been seen in the classification of minorities and queer groups.
“Latinx” is a relatively new and inclusive term used to label all those of Latin American descent, including those who do not identify as being male or female, also known as non-binary. “Latinx” was first introduced by queer internet groups who wanted to be able to use a term that would apply to all Latinos that identify in any of the existing LGBTQ+ groups. “[email protected]” and “Latino/a” are also alternatives that are used to change the inherited gender binary that is traditional to the term.
The term “Latinx” was officially added to the Merriam Webster dictionary in September of 2018, under the definition of a word that is “used as a gender-neutral alternative to Latino or Latina.” While the more popularly known and used term “Latino” is defined as being a “person of Latin American origin or descent, especially a man or boy.”
Although the term was made to be more inclusive to those who identify as non-binary, there has been controversy surrounding the use of this term. Some claim the word is unnecessary, while others argue that the term effectively conforms to the changing times and new emerging groups of people.
One of the arguments made against the use of this term is that in Spanish, the term “Latino” is more commonly used to describe a male of Latin American origin or descent, however, the term “Latinos” pertain to all people of Latin American origin or descent, which targets everyone under that classification, not just those who identify as male or female.
Another argument against the term asserts that ‘Latinx’ is not Spanish-friendly enough for a word created to describe Latinos, who are primarily Spanish-speakers. The letter “x,” which gives the term ‘Latinx’ its non-binary characteristic and sense that any letter could be substituted, just like any lifestyle it may represent, is one of the letters with the most pronunciations in the Spanish alphabet. With the same pronunciation as the digraph ch, as well as the pronunciation of the letters “h,” “s,” “z,” and “ks” in the English alphabet, the letter “x” is just as diverse as the purpose it serves, which concerns some and satisfies others.
Dr. Marchi, one of the Spanish teachers here at Paschal believes the term is not necessary, claiming that “Latino,” “Latina,” and “Hispanic” are terms that better describe the Latin American population, and are just as efficacious as the increasingly popular term “Latinx”.
However, there are those who think the term is an effective and successfully inclusive term. Several claim that “Latinos” is an inherently masculine term, and excludes people who identify as non-binary. Using the term Latinx gives people the freedom to refer to any gender.
Members of the LGBTQ+ community have embraced this term. Not only is it being used by members of this particular group, but by people all around the US wanting to adapt and be more inclusive to every kind of person or to simply, as Ms. Buckner, journalism teacher here at Paschal, said, “get with the times.”
Mrs. Rodriguez, another Spanish teacher here at Paschal, is glad to have such a term, expressing that she “[likes] the fact that there is a term, ‘Latinx,’ because our culture tends to categorize people too much, whether men have to be manly, and women have to stick to their roles…and we’re not all like that. We’re human. It’s not all-encompassing,” also stating that she is “glad that Latinx is there to be all-inclusive.”
Despite the controversy surrounding the term and validity of arguments on both sides, ‘Latinx’ continues to grow in popularity, representing a new society based on total inclusion and the idea that no one should be boxed in.