LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Latinx is an alternative description for a Latino or Hispanic person but is the term catching on? The gender neutral word is meant to be more inclusive.
The gender neutral word is meant to be more inclusive. Latinx is meant to replace the masculine Latino or the feminine Latina. The word was in the spotlight during the 2020 presidential election.
The movement is gaining traction globally, but few U.S. Hispanics actually use it.
“I actually had to look it up,” said Maite Guerra, UNLV student.
“I was also like, whoa why is there an x at the end?” UNLV student Joshua Padilla asked.
“The greater population remains divided. The x is a start but it’s not enough,” said UNLV professor Dr. Erika Abad.
The Pew Research Center points out the gender-neutral term latinx is being embraced by celebrities, politicians and grassroots organizations.
“Latinx folks are going to be the biggest voting block in this election,” said Maria Nieto Orta, Nevada state coordinator for Mi Familia Vota, in an interview prior to the 2020 election.
Last year, Apple even created a Latinx Heritage Month section with videos, playlists, and other content.
“Not only does our community struggle with internal racism it also struggles with queer phobia and sexism,” Abad said.
The pew study also found that most Latino adults, 76%, have not even heard of the term. And while one-in-four U.S. Hispanics have heard the term, only 3% actually use it.
Abad is a professor at UNLV where more than 25% of the students are Latino or Latinx.
“Student life often uses it to promote their events,” she said.
Frederick Aldama has written more than 45 books on the topic, plus a documentary on Latinx superheroes.
“We’re sort of in a movement as opposed to a series of moments of representation in the media” said Aldama who is a professor at Ohio State University.
He says what’s important is that the community is the one behind the movement.
“We’ve all been told by the census, by the government, how to self identify and how to call ourselves,” Aldama said. “We don’t need to be prescriptive about it, like telling people, you need to be self identifying Latinx. This is really about giving us options.”
“Transgender and non-binary community experiences too much violence on a daily basis,” Abad said. “I don’t want to see that anymore. Something as simple as recognizing their gender pronouns, their name, and the terms they prefer makes the world a difference.
Back to the study by the Pew Research Center, it found that young Hispanic women are among the most likely to use Latinx.