Call me Latine was inspired by a viral Facebook post written to introduce my friends to the gender-neutral Spanish word Latine. When I first shared the post I had no idea how much attention it would receive. My inbox filled with messages from strangers, explaining how my words had impacted them and how the term Latine had helped them start a conversation with their friends and families about an issue they had been struggling to discuss.
To be clear, Latine is not my word, or a term I created. Latine was created by LGBTQIA+, gender non-binary, and feminist communities in Spanish speaking countries. Though it has gained attention in places like Mexico, Peru, and Argentina, many in the United States are still unaware of Latine. Instead, Latinx has trended among U.S. political leaders, universities, and major news networks.
When I first heard the term Latine, I felt seen as a queer person and a Mexican-American.
For me, Latine is about embracing a culture that was taken from me through the oppression faced by my ancestors and other Mexican-Americans like them in the Southern United States. It’s about sharing my queerness and celebrating where I come from. It’s about reconnecting.
The intention behind Call me Latine is not to tell anyone what they should call themselves, but to create a resource and space for those who need it. I hope Call me Latine is helpful to you and your journey of self-expression, and I encourage you to share our resources with your community.
James Lee is the creator of Call me Latine. A native of the U.S. border with Mexico, James was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley, the most southern region of Texas. He identifies as Latine, Mexican-American, and queer. James’ pronouns are he, they, el, and elle.
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