A group of Latino Democratic lawmakers in Connecticut is asking the state to follow in the footsteps of another by removing the term “Latinx” from all government documents, claiming the term is offensive, according to reports.
In the Spanish language, Latino refers to the Latin male, while Latina refers to the Latin female. The term “Latinx” is like non-binary, meaning it is used to describe a person who does not identify as either male or female.
Connecticut State Rep. Geraldo Reyes Jr. sponsored a bill along with four other Hispanic Democrats, saying Latinx is a “woke” term that offends a substantial portion of the state’s Puerto Rican population, according to the Associated Press.
Reyes told the Associated Press he finds the term offensive, as a Puerto Rican himself.
Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who was sworn in as the first female governor of Arkansas last month, banned the word “Latinx” in government documents after citing a Pew Research poll that found only 3% of American Latinos and Hispanics used the term to describe themselves.
“Ethnically insensitive and pejorative language has no place in official government documents or government employee titles,” Sanders’ executive order stated. “The government has a responsibility to respect its citizens and use ethnically appropriate language, particularly when referring to ethnic minorities.”
Along with Arkansas banning the term, the League of United Latin American Citizens also announced in 2021 that it would no longer use the term.
Maia Gil ’Adi, who is an assistant professor of “Latinx and Multiethnic Literature” at Boston University told the AP the term dates back to Latina and Latino queer culture in the 1990s, and the “x” refers to indigenous roots.”
“The word Latino is incredibly exclusionary, both for women and for non-gender conforming people,” she said. “And the term Latinx is really useful because of the way it challenges those conceptions.”
Reyes anticipates the current session will include a hearing on the bill.