I’m often asked to compare the term Latine with the term Latinx. It’s hard to do this because the terms developed separate from each other, in two very different contexts. Latine is an identity and term created by queer, gender non-binary, and feminist communities in Spanish speaking countries. Latine did not develop as a response to the term Latinx.
Some Hispanic and Latino people have reservations about the term Latinx. Some people who identify as Latinx have reservations about the term Latine. Our community is complex and there are many unique perspectives within our culture, but this is nothing new.
In generations past, some identified as Hispanic, Latino, Chicano, and Tejano, to name a few. The adoption of those terms, or use of one over the other, whether on government documents, in political forums, or in academia and the media, was often a decision influenced by people outside of our culture.
My hope is that Call me Latine opens your eyes to the complexities of Hispanic and Latino culture and that you walk away understanding that you have played a role in naming our community in the past, and continue to play a role when you use one term over another today.
Still, you may be asking yourself, “what term do I use then?” There is no easy answer to this question as an ally. Identity is something very personal, and no one’s identity is wrong.
Call me Latine’s name exists as a statement and emphasizes individual preference. We are not here to tell anyone how they should self-identify, but to give our contribution to the conversation and to be a resource for those who need it.
My advice to you is to start a conversation instead of assuming. Ask how people self-identify, learn about our communities, appreciate our differences for what they are, and at the very least, use these terms interchangeably.
Acknowledge and give voice to the diversity found in our culture.
Call me Latine.
James Lee is the founder 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. His pronouns are he, him, el, and ele.
Call me Latine is a resource dedicated to addressing gender and heteronormative bias in Hispanic and Latino culture. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter @callmelatine.
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