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Latina, Latino, Latinx. What is this new term, Latinx?

August 31, 2016 Amy Molina University of Colorado at Boulder

If you have seen the word Latinx come across your feed or heard it being used in conversation, it is not a typo and it is not a mispronunciation. Using an “x” in place of the “a” or “o” makes the word gender neutral. For those of you that are familiar with the Spanish language, whether it be a person, place, or object, we know that many words in the Spanish language have been gendered. Latina is the feminine noun and Latino is the masculine noun.  Individuals have begun to challenge the word because we have folks that are part of the Latina/o community, yet prefer not to be associated with masculine or feminine nouns.  

Latinx is a gender neutral term that is being used as a means of being more inclusive and moving away from the gendered term. It is pronounced “Lah-teen-ex”, and allows for the Spanish language to move beyond gender binaries.  As student affairs professionals, we recognize that there is a movement to move towards gender neutral pronouns as we know that language is evolving, Latinx is a term that allows for our non-binary, genderqueer, gender fluid, and trans hermanos and hermanas to feel included.

Using the term “Latinx” in general is a way to be inclusive of identities that go beyond gender norms. This is something that is very important to take into consideration when working with Latina/o students. More and more you are seeing Latina/o being replaced by Latinx. It is important to keep in mind that some individuals may not identify as Latinx for a variety of reasons, but it is also important to respect those who do and prefer to be referred to as such.

About the LKC

The LKC actively promotes the empowerment of NASPA members through education, research, shared knowledge, and mentoring initiatives, including:

  • Advocacy
  • Opportunities to connect with student affairs professionals locally, regionally, nationally and internationally
  • Learning and sharing of best practices
  • Influencing policy and political change
  • Volunteer and professional development opportunities

The LKC works in collaboration with other higher education and national partners to advance and support increased understanding of Latino/a issues and experiences, as well as the development and advancement of policies and action related to Latino/a national issues.

Amy Molina currently serves as the Latino/a KC Coordinator for NASPA IV-W.  She currently works as the Assistant Director for Pre-Colliate Development Programs at the University of Colorado.  She can be reached at [email protected].