As the editor of one of the most inclusive platforms for content made by and for Latinas, the term “Latinx” has been sitting on my desk, watching me and reminding me of an often procrastinated task.
It’s about taking two minutes to pause the running around of the day and ask myself, “What am I, exactly?” “How do I identify myself?” The problem is, for a Millennial in the middle of the mental healing rabbit hole, these kinds of questions are always thorny.
In the BELatina newsroom, we have talented female writers from all backgrounds — Afro-Latinas, Syrian-Latina, Colombian, Mexican, Puerto Ricans, and more. But there are also those of us who identify as lesbian and queer. And it is precisely we who, in the midst of mediatization, found a certain comfort in the neologism “Latinx.”
It turns out that the process of healing the wounds inherited by heteropatriarchal generations has made us both resilient and delicate when it comes to self-determination. While it is true that the term Latinx was born around the beginning of the 21st century, the need to break with the linguistic tradition of calling plurals in the masculine has always made us uncomfortable.
In the Southern Cone, for example, for decades, the feminist movement has renounced the “masculine-feminine” binomial and has opted to put an “e” at the end of plurals. The problem is that living in a predominantly English-speaking country, that “e” fell short — at least at first. Similarly, saying “Latinx” in Spanish sounds cacophonous.
During the dark era of Trumpism, and once political proselytizing found the Latino community in the U.S. to be its ideal Trojan horse, the term “Latinx” became, once again, a political issue and, thus, as columnist Rubén Navarrete rightly says, the rest was lost in translation.
However, our responsibility as communicators remains unchanged: We must adapt to the needs of our audience if we want our job of telling the stories of our community to be correct and fair.
That is why we at BELatina have decided to use, as our sisters in the south of the continent have done, the “e” in order to transform our language and make it as inclusive as possible, far from any political instrumentalism.
No, this is not a queer agenda, much less an attempt to “rainbow-wash” our content. We speak from the deep reflection of our own identity as women, women of color, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
This work is by and for everyone. It is about creating spaces for debate where the invitation is, as the salsa says, “entren que caben cien.”
And although we don’t know what the new generations will bring, this is a decision made according to the winds of change, and always open to reorientation and adaptation, having our audience as our only priority.
So, today, as always, we thank our Latine community for accompanying and inspiring us in this journey of self-discovery.
This is a journey best experienced in good company.