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Latinx term attempts to decenter the gender binary

Posted at 8:37 AM, Oct 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-06 11:37:37-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — You may have heard the word before or looked at it on a document and thought it was a grammatical error. But the X at the end of Latin has a deeper meaning.

Latinx is a term that attempts to decenter the gender binary.

Among the Hispanic community, Latinx has been emerging as a gender-neutral term.

Spanish is a gendered language - specific to only men and women. But the language defaults to masculine when referencing a group, with the word Latino doing precisely that.

UNLV Assistant Professor Dr. Erika Abad says Latinos fail to represent other genders, which this non-binary term comes into play.

"The power of disrupting the gender binary in the naming process allows us to recognize that our trans community, our non-binary community, our gender non-conforming community. And is as equally important as our community in this conversation of rights and visibility," Abad said.

She says the term originated around the late 90s, early 2000s, allowing the LGBTQ, specifically the trans community, to be appropriately addressed in important decisions.

"It's making sure that a tran's ability is integrated into conversations of racial and political-economic struggles that we face on the side of the state and in our countries," Abad said.

While the term Latinx is more inclusive, Abad says more work needs to be done, but the word is a small step in the right direction, and there are still many barriers in trying to unite people from different backgrounds under a single umbrella.

"It's important to learn why we are here, what we contribute, and how history explains the policies and practices that compelled historical U.S. policy to bring us here," Abad said.