Connecticut Democrats Introduce State Bill Banning Use Of ‘Latinx’
Connecticut Democratic lawmakers have proposed a bill that would ban state agencies from using the term “Latinx.” The bill is aimed to prohibit state agencies or state employees from using the word in official communications or forms for a state agency.
The move from the five Latino state House Democrats comes after lawmakers in several states have criticized the term. The term “Latinx” is a gender-neutral form of “Latino” or “Latina.” Woke progressives have widely promoted it in recent years. However, it has also been criticized for being unpronounceable in Spanish, leading some progressive Spanish-speaking people to adopt the term “Latine” as a replacement.
Conservatives have also seized on the term as another cultural war issue, with Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders banning the use of “Latinx” on her first day in office last month. In addition, the League of United Latin American citizens, the country’s oldest Latino civil rights organization, announced in 2021 that it would no longer use the term.
State Representative Geraldo Reyes Jr. (D) of Waterbury, who is the bill’s chief sponsor and one of five Hispanic Democrats who put their names on the legislation, said that “Latinx” is not a Spanish word and is instead a “woke” term that is offensive to Connecticut’s large Puerto Rican population. “The Spanish language, which is centuries old, defaults to Latino for everybody,” Reyes said. “It’s all-inclusive. They didn’t need to create a word, it already exists.”
However, Maia Gil’Adi, an assistant professor of “Latinx and Multiethnic Literature” at Boston University, argued that “Latinx” actually dates back to Latino and Latina youth and queer culture in the 1990s, with the “x” being a nod to many people’s 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.”
David Pharies, a Spanish language professor at the University of Florida, said another movement would replace the “o” and “a” in many Spanish nouns referring to people with an “e.” He said that is something that would be easier for Spanish speakers to pronounce than the word Latinx.
It is unclear how often the term “Latinx” has been used in state documents. A search on the state government’s portal returned 945 hits for documents, including press releases, blogs, and reports that use the word. Michelle Dumas Keuler, an attorney for the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, told reporters that the term is used in any complaint submitted about housing, employment, or other types of discrimination when requested.
Reyes expects the bill to get a hearing before the Democratic-controlled Legislature’s Government Administration and Elections Committee during the current session. Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont’s spokesman, Adam Joseph, stated that the governor’s office would follow the debate as the bill moves through the Legislature.