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The gender-neutral word ‘Latinx’ is gaining ground in the US – but it isn’t really inclusive

The gender-neutral word ‘Latinx’ is gaining ground in the US – but it isn’t really inclusive

Most of the debates on the usage of “Latinx” – pronounced “la-teen-ex” – have taken place in the US. But the word has begun to spread into Spanish-speaking countries – where it hasn’t exactly been embraced.

In July 2022, Argentina and Spain released public statements banning the use of Latinx, or any gender-neutral variant. Both governments reasoned that these new terms are violations of the rules of the Spanish language.

Latinx is used as an individual identity for those who are gender-nonconforming, and it can also describe an entire population without using “Latinos,” which is currently the default in Spanish for a group of men and women.

As a Mexican-born, US-raised scholar, I agree with the official Argentine and Spanish stance on banning Latinx from the Spanish language – English, too.

When I first heard Latinx in 2017, I thought it was progressive and inclusive, but I quickly realised how problematic it was. Five years later, Latinx is not commonly used in Spanish-speaking countries, nor is it used by the majority of those identifying as Hispanic or Latino in the US.

In fact, there’s a gender-inclusive term that’s already being used by Spanish-speaking activists that works as a far more natural replacement.

Low usage

Though the exact origins of Latinx are unclear, it emerged sometime around 2004 and gained popularity...

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