The term Latinx was created as an inclusive adjective to describe Latin American people due to the fact that in Spanish there is only a masculine and feminine descriptor, so people who don’t subscribe to either of those genders are left out. When the term was first conceived, many applauded its creative methods at increasing gender inclusivity in the language, but how often is it really used?
According to research by the Pew Research Center from 2019, “About one in four Hispanics have heard of the term Latinx, however only 3% use it.” The most popular terms to describe people with roots in Latin America and Spain are Hispanic and Latino — terms adopted in the 1970s and 1990s, respectively — and they have been the most popular terms since. Nonetheless, we are starting to move forward as a society, and as we start to create a more inclusive and accepting world, we must also look for terms that are equally inclusive, such as Latinx.
The term Latinx has also been used in an attempt to diversify the grammatical rules of languages that only use two genders, such as Spanish, French, Portuguese, and modernize them to become more gender inclusive. Here in the US, it is more common to hear the use of gender neutral cases than in Spanish-speaking countries, due to the fact that the US, for the last few decades, has been having a broader movement regarding gender identity.
According to another study by the Pew Research Center, “Half of Americans who trace their roots to Spanish-speaking Latin America and Spain” have said that they “have no preference for either Hispanic or Latino.” However, when asked to choose between the two, the majority have said they prefer the term Hispanic. Also within that study it was found that “country of origin labels (Mexican, Argentinian, Spanish, Uruguayan, etc.) are preferred over Hispanic or Latino.”
I can say from experience that in my generation, gender neutral pronouns have been becoming increasingly popular. However, I don’t use them very much. I use he/him pronouns, and so I sometimes use the term Latino when referring to my ethnicity. For me, “Latinx” is a very useful term that can be used by non-binary or gender nonconforming people to describe themselves. However, I personally don’t like the sound of the term, although I fully respect anyone who chooses to use it and I address people who use it with said term. I believe that the term Latine has a better sound and I think it poses a great alternative rather to ending the word with an x.
At the end of the day, I fully support the efforts to create gender neutral terms that will make everyone feel accepted and that will lead to a better language that will feel welcoming to todas, todos y todes.