Latinx: What Does It Mean?

What does Latinx mean to teens?

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Latinx: What Does It Mean?

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Over the course of these recent months, the word Latinx has resurfaced through social media, political conversations, and organization outlets. Although the word Latinx is not a new word as it has been used since 2004. The reclamation of the word still has quite a few unaware of what it means and why the sudden use of it. The first mention of the word Latinx was at Princeton University. The creation came through a student group called the Princeton University Latinx Perspective Organization which was founded in 2016 to “unify Princeton’s diverse Latinx community.”

Due to the uptick in use of the word Latinx, I wanted to ask a group of young teens in high school what Latinx meant to them and when they first heard the word.

It teaches us to accept everyone in the community — even more so, we aren’t valuing the masculine over the feminine.”

— Liza Estrada

The first person I asked was Giselle Uribe. Uribe is a Senior at Woodford County High school and she said, “Latinx is a term that brings all Spanish speaking countries together and marginalizes us in one group.” She then answered my following question of when she first heard the term in which she said, “I heard the term for the first time when I became a member of Esperanza during my freshman year of high school. The reason why they used that word was that most of our families are from different parts of Mexico or South America.”

Xarley Chavez, also a Woodford County high school student, shared her perspective to what the term Latinx means to her. Answering the first question she said,  “Latinx is the term people use for both males and females who are Hispanic.” Chavez then said, “Honestly, I don’t really know where I first heard it but I remember people addressing me like that when I was younger maybe around like 5th grade. But from what I know is that it really isn’t a taunting thing to say. People now use the word to push back the masculinity within the Hispanic community.”

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People now use the word to push back the masculinity within the Hispanic community.”

— Xarley Chavez (12)

Liza Estrada, 22, a student at San Francisco State University, said, “It teaches us to accept everyone in the community — even more so, we aren’t valuing the masculine over the feminine.” Estrada recalls learning about the term through Twitter and is appreciative that the Latinx is the new identity for Latinos and Latinas because it provided a welcoming atmosphere to the Latino community.

Many others describe the term as a new blank slate for Latino or Latinas. It is seen as a rebrand to break out of the stereotypes that are given to Hispanics.

Even though, the Oxford dictionary says that Latinx means “a person of Latin American origin or descent (used as a gender-neutral or nonbinary alternative to Latino or Latina).” The word resembles different meanings to everyone in the Latinx community.