Angélica Escobar
Opinions Editor

Abigail Sanchez
Opinions Editor

In a society that is now working to be inclusive of everyone, using the proper language and pronouns is important for including non-binary people. Words can be powerful, and as we work for more visibility and inclusiveness of non-binary people, we need to take a look at how we can make gendered language more considerate of them. However, it can be a bit of a slippery slope. Making gendered language more inclusive also means being considerate and taking into account the culture surrounding that language as well as the rules for it. This is where the argument of “Latinx or Latiné?” comes in. Spanish is very much a gendered language, even the objects are gendered such as “la mesa” or “él árbol.” When it comes to pronouns, there are “yo,” “el,” and “ella,” but no pronoun to identify a non-binary individual like English (“they/theirs/them”). In an effort to remedy this, people have thought up the term “Latinx” in order to include non-binary people. However, is Latinx an appropriate term to refer to non-binaries in the Spanish language? Most likely not.

In the Latinx community, there have been many discussions surrounding the use of the term “Latinx” and other terms that could be used as a substitute, one of them being “Latiné.” Before we talk about which term is better for Spanish-speaking people in Latin America, we’ll discuss a bit about why “Latinx” is troubling for some people in the community. Besides the typical jerks who are inconsiderate of the non-binary identity, there are people who bring up a real concern about the use of “Latinx.” While the term may be fine for the English-speaking folks, it may be hard to pronounce for the Spanish-speaking people. Why? Well, simply put, you don’t really pronounce the “x” in the Spanish language like you do in English. In fact, saying the “x” in words and names like “Mexico” or “Ximena” is more similar to how you pronounce the “h” in English in words like “hot” or “here.” Due to that, pronouncing “x” like it is in English can be hard for those who solely speak Spanish. Not to mention, the community that the term “Latinx” refers to doesn’t only speak Spanish (Brazilians mostly speak Portuguese, for example). If we want a term that is gender-neutral, then it should also reflect the community that it is representing. After all, the Latinx community doesn’t only exist in the United States.

This is why the term “Latiné” has been circulating to replace “Latinx.” Not only is it more gender-neutral, but it also is reflective of the way the Latiné community speaks Spanish. James Lee, a thirty-year-old gay man from Houston, wrote a book called Call me Latiné. This book goes into depth on why the word “Latiné” is the best word to describe those who are from Latin America in the LGBTQIA+ community. Lee goes on to explain how the letter “e” has always been a gender-neutral term, so by replacing the “o” and “a”. The Spanish language has already been using the letter “e”, in words like estudiante, and it is used in both masculine/feminine terms. An example of creating a gender-neutral term can be seen with the word niño and niña; when changed to be gender it turns into niñe. Overall, the letter “e” has been helping those within the Latiné community understand gender-neutral Spanish terms and pronouns.

According to Lee, those who use the term Latinx the most are non-Latiné and used the term “without understanding the complexities of the Latino community.” He believes that White people created this term, and he doesn’t think we should be using it due to that. Lee states, “In the past, they’ve played a lot of influence in defining us. I think that we’re in a moment where people have got to listen. We’ve got to define ourselves.” While there is no certainty as to how “Latinx” was created, others have believed that queer, English-speaking Latinx people were the ones to coin the term to use in English conversations. However, using the term “Latiné” may be better for those who speak Spanish, including the LGBTQIA+ people; through it we are able to define ourselves and our culture.

For many in the Latiné community, it is hard to share their queer identity with their parents because queer identity within our culture can be seen as a “white thing.” That is why the term Latinx isn’t the best way to describe those within the LGBTQIA+ community as it is hard to understand as there is no “x” pronounced in our language. The letter “e” actually originates from the Spanish language, and in Spanish-speaking countries. Meaning that the letter “e” is easier to pronounce and understand. With it being easier to pronounce and understand, gender-neutral terms can be more prominent within our culture, and be accepted.

Latiné serves a bigger resource than the term Latinx within our culture as it is easier to understand. This article’s intent is not to tell those in the Latino community which term they should use to identify themselves. We simply wanted to write this article to inform which term may make more sense to those in our community that are older, are mostly Spanish-speakers, and/or don’t understand the use of “x” in the term “Latinx.”

Featured Image: Courtesy of Terry Blas / Vox

Authors

  • Angélica Escobar

    Angélica Escobar has just started working for the Quaker Campus for the 2020-21 academic year, and is currently a copy writer. She enjoys writing about politics, opinions, and arts and culture.

  • Abigail Sanchez

    Abigail Sanchez has been writing for the Quaker Campus since fall 2019 and is currently the Opinions Editor of the Quaker Campus. She is also a freelance writer and has written for two feminist media platforms. She enjoys writing about political and social issues that affect the country and her community. In her spare time, Abigail likes to listen to music, read books, and write fictional stories.

Angélica Escobar has just started working for the Quaker Campus for the 2020-21 academic year, and is currently a copy writer. She enjoys writing about politics, opinions, and arts and culture.
  1. Connor Nolan
    May 24, 2022

    Hi, I am curious about the accent on Latiné as I have usually seen it written as Latine with the stress on the second syllable similar to Latina o Latino. If it is written as Latiné would the stress be on the final syllable? Thank you, I speak Spanish as a second language so I’m still learning all of the grammatical conventions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Next Post

Where Does Football’s Credibility Stand?