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Hispanic Lawmakers in Connecticut Call for Ban of the Term 'Latinx'

Six Democrats in the state legislature oppose the use of the gender-neutral term

A group of Hispanic lawmakers in Connecticut has called for the state government to stop permitting the term “Latinx” on any official government documents, citing the term’s offensive nature.

The request mirrors the action taken by Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders last month. Sanders said the term and its equivalents were “ethnically insensitive and pejorative language has no place in official government documents or government employee titles.”

“Latinx” has been promoted in recent years as a gender-neutral alternative to “Latino” or “Latina.”

“I’m of Puerto Rican decent and I find it offensive,” said state Representative Geraldo Reyes Jr. of Waterbury who sponsored the bill. He and five other Democrats of Hispanic descent who are co-sponsoring the bill say “Latinx” is a “woke” term and is not a true Spanish word. They consider the term offensive to the state’s large Puerto Rican population, per AP News

“The Spanish language, which is centuries old, defaults to Latino for everybody,” Reyes said. “It’s all-inclusive. They didn’t need to create a word, it already exists.”

While popular in some circles, the term “Latinx” has not been universally adopted by Spanish speakers. According to a report published by the Pew Research Center in August of 2020, 76% of Hispanic adults have not heard of the term. Another 20% have heard of the term and do not use it. Just 3% of Hispanic adults in America know of and use the term “Latinx.”

The emergence of Latinx coincides with a global movement to introduce gender-neutral nouns and pronouns into many languages whose grammar has traditionally used male or female constructions,” the researchers reported. “In the United States, the first uses of Latinx appeared more than a decade ago. It was added to a widely used English dictionary in 2018, reflecting its greater use.”

Some members of the Hispanic community in America believe opposing the evolution of the Spanish language in compliance with more modern ideology is misguided.

According to BELatina, a media website made up of “a team of Latina/Afro-Latinx writers and editors”:

It has been said time and time again that our community’s worst enemy sometimes comes from within. Unfortunately, there are some people who refuse to understand anything that falls outside of their comfort zone. As we all may know, there are many people in our community who rely on traditionalist values and try to maintain a “puritan” outlook on their decisions. But what seems to be forgotten is how these values came about.  

Everything from the Spanish-language to the prominence of Christianity derives from our colonizers.

Could it be that inclusive language is a way to challenge people’s biases against the queer community? Could that be the real reason behind this? It can’t possibly just be because the ‘x’ at the end isn’t easily pronounced by those who speak the Spanish-language.

Arkansas’ Sanders enacted a ban on the use of the term ‘Latinx’ on any government documents during her first days in office. 

“The government has a responsibility to respect its citizens and use ethnically appropriate language, particularly when referring to ethnic minorities,” Sanders said in her executive order. 

Reyes’ House Bill 6384 has been referred to the Committee on Government Administration and Elections.

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