Latinx is a gender neutral term often used in lieu of Latino or Latina that refers to individuals with cultural ties to Latin America and individuals with Latin American descent. The -x replaces the standard o/a ending of Latino and is intended to be more gender inclusive.
The term originally appeared online in queer forums, but has slowly gained recognition in academic spaces and social media platforms. There is a current ongoing debate surrounding the usage of the term, as well as the other proposed attempts at introducing gender neutrality.
Latinx is mainly used in academic spaces and social media platforms like Tumblr and Twitter. College students in particular have taken to using the word, especially within Latino student organizations.
At Princeton University, the Princeton University Latinx Perspective Organization was created in 2016 to “unify Princeton’s diverse Latinx community.” Student run organizations that utilize Latinx in their title also exist at other institutions, including Oberlin College and Conservatory, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Iowa State University, highlighting the widespread usage of the term at the undergraduate level.
The term has also gained massive popularity given its usage on social media platforms. Originally used online, Latinx has been increasingly used by multiple blogs that cater to a Latino audience, which has added to its popularity. Prominent Latino run websites like BeVisible Latinx, we are mitú, and Remezcla have utilized the word extensively on their own websites, bringing awareness of the word to a larger audience.
While Latinx has been increasingly used amongst college students and academics, the term itself has not achieved widespread usage at the US national level. Race and ethnicity categories on official United States federal government documents only offer the category of Hispanic or Latino.
No other gender neutral term like Latine or Latin@ are utilized on these forms either.
Although utilization of Latinx is nonexistent on official government documentation, mention of the word has been made in past bills. In a proposed bill to the US Senate, the Community Outreach and Engagement Coordinator at Planned Parenthood of Southern New England utilized the word Latinx when advocating for the passing of Senate Bill 147. The mention of the term within official US documentation is a testament to the widening use of the term beyond academic spaces.