Don’t cross out tradition with an ‘X’

In an attempt to be inclusive, the promoters of Latinx have only included themselves.

By Mickie Shaw, Multimedia Editor

The term Latinx, (pronounced La-tee-nex) the gender neutral term to describe people of Latin American origin or ancestry, has become popular with young Latinos on American college campuses and in academia to describe themselves. Now the promoters of the term want all Latinos here and in the rest of the Spanish speaking world to use the word. In an attempt to be inclusive, they are actually excluding rather than including women.

Latinx is meant to include people who are trans, queer, a-gender, non binary, gender non-conforming or gender fluid. The word first appeared in online queer communities’ conversations in the United States. Not feeling included with the terms Latino or Latina, the masculine and feminine forms of the word Latin, the word Latinx was created.

As a gendered person, I don’t feel included in the word Latinx. I am Latina. If people or communities want to call themselves Latinx that is great, but don’t use it as an umbrella term to describe all Latinos. They do not speak for me just as I do not speak for them. I also do not feel comfortable with the addition of “x”; the letter means unknown in math; I am somebody, and I have an identity, plus Latinx just sounds terrible as Spanish.

In an attempt to make Spanish non gendered, Latinx proponents even want to add “x” to all gendered words in Spanish. Spanish, a romance language, is gendered by default. Its nouns are either masculine, often ending in “o” but not all the time, or feminine which often ends in an “a”. Words ending in “e” mean both genders, and some words use the feminine “a” or “o” for both male and female.

Some examples of Spanish nouns ending in “e” are: gente, clase, llave – which translates to: people, class, key.

The grammar and structure of Spanish would have to be re-imagined to make it gender neutral, and why use an anglicized word when there are Spanish words that are neutral? The term Latin is gender neutral and so is the word Hispanic, although Hispanic refers specifically to Spanish speakers in Latin America or of that heritage.

Valley College Spanish professor Maria E. Frances-Banitez, a self described feminista and a Cuban immigrant said, “If they are using Spanish, I think the “e” word would be good. That is both gender, all gender — for example; estudiante [student]. Latine is actually using the Spanish structure.”

This is what a gender neutral sentence in Spanish would look like: “Lxs niñxs fueron a lx escuelx a ver sus amigxs.” It’s a mind bender to be sure and for native Spanish speakers without some familiarity with English — nearly unpronounceable because the x could not be pronounce the same as in English.

“We have issues in society we have not dealt with, and we worry about whether I am going to call myself Latinx or Latina,” said Frances-Banitez. “We need to really worry about getting everybody included ... we all have to be recognized rather than be erased by a word that doesn’t recognize you.”

The use of Latinx has created hostility from Spanish speakers throughout Latin American and the United States. Two pro-Latinx videos, on Fusion and mitu, were met with an avalanche of negative responses. Comments included: “supidx”, “Fake latins”, “ridiculous” and “butchering the Spanish language.

Rudy Corado, a transgender activist, who calls herself Latina, said in an interview with the Washington Post, “I grew up fighting for my gender to be recognized as Latina.” Corado, who was born in El Salvador, now lives in Washington, D.C.

The term Latinx is an imposition by a small group of mostly American Hispanic activists and academics demanding all of the Spanish speaking world change the very nature of our language and how we identify ourselves. It is American linguistic imperialism.

As a proud Latina, who has marched and protested for women’s rights, and worked in the male-dominated profession of television for decades — often I am the only woman on a crew and the only minority — I have an identity and a gender. Do not force a gender-neutral identity on me. I will not be erased with an X.