“Latinx” Image from Surge Institute.
“Latinx.” Image via Surge Institute.

Is 'Latinx' a word that represents the Latin American community?

The use of inclusive language is increasing, but is 'Latinx' a truly inclusive and representative word for those with Latin American roots?


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The term 'Latinx' has been gaining ground in different spaces as a way to define those who belong to the Latin community, without assigning a (binary) gender - it tries to embrace and include diverse sexual identities.

In fact, writer Paola Ramos acknowledges in her book 'Latinx' that the term emerged in the Latino LGTBQ+ community, but its use is still quite controversial and many do not feel represented by it.

Why? The answers are varied...

A survey by the Pew Research Center points out that in Spanish the 'x' does not have a familiar sound, and that it is more of an "English-speaking imposition." Because of this, it can feel like another way the United States exerts its influence over Latin America.

So, if we accept this premise, what about the term Latine? Is it accepted and used?

No, it is increasingly common to hear the use of inclusive language within academic production, feminist or contemporary activist environments, but for a long time, it has been synonymous with derision.

The reluctance to use inclusive language seems to come from the subject that is historically benefited or privileged by the use of conventional language.

Is it so difficult to imagine or think of language as a 'living' element that we build and change according to our development as a society?
Or is it simply that it is much more comfortable to leave things as they were because a huge sector is 'not affected,' or does not feel affected by the need to work towards a more inclusive society?

The fact is that language is alive, and from it, we understand and build our reality.

Spanish is a binary language — we define the gender of things by default — which sheds light on the difficulty of many to accept these changes.

But it also shows that diversities have not been reflected or included for too long. New generations are doing a tremendous job to change this by using more and more gender-neutral terms; however, these changes are still based on the Western construction of Latin America.

Perhaps the exercise we should do is to review some 'native' terminologies of the continent until we find a word or words with which we all feel more comfortable, represented, and included.


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