Culture

The Royal Spanish Academy Is Becoming More Inclusive As It Officially Adds Two New And Important Words To The Language

Our society is in constant flux and with it, so is the way we express ourselves. Our ways of communicating and the words we use to do so have changed as the world changes. Just think about words like ‘computer’ or FaceTime or ‘influencer’, these words would of meant nothing to our ancestors. But to us they’ve come to carry important meanings that help us communicate.

It’s a similar argument for words that attempt to make language and communication more inclusive. Words like ‘Latinx’ and ‘Latine’ have become more mainstream as more people decide to use them. Although they’ve also become highly controversial and the debate is still out on whether or not they’ll become widely accepted.

However, just because some people may decide not to use ‘Latinx’ or ‘elle’ doesn’t mean that people who prefer to use them shouldn’t be able to. That’s exactly why the Royal Spanish Academy – which oversees the development of the Spanish language – has added several new and more inclusive words it’s so called ‘Word Observatory.’

Spain’s Royal Spanish Academy – the body that oversees the Spanish language – is making some serious updates.

In recent years, both academics and activists alike have highlighted the importance of using inclusive and non-gendered language – which isn’t exactly easy to do with Spanish. It was under this ideal that the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) decided to address the use of new terms such as the pronoun “elle”.

Last week, the academy unveiled the new design of its website, which has a more visual interface. The site includes a section called “Word Observatory” where, for the first time, the use of “elle”, “transfobia” and other words is addressed.

According to the RAE, the pronoun “elle” is a resource created and promoted in certain areas to refer to those who may not identify with either of the two traditionally existing genres. Its use is neither generalized nor established.”

The issue of more inclusive Spanish was addressed earlier this year when th RAE ruled on the request of Carmen Calvo – Spain’s Vice President. Calvo had asked the institution to consider “an inclusive” update to the language, something to help gender non-conforming and non-binary people express themselves.

Calvo’s position was seen as intending to criticize the required use of the masculine gender when referring to a group of both genders. But now that request seems to have made a difference as the academy is examining alternatives to the male and female usage.

However, it’s encouraging to see the RAE include the words in its observatory – the word isn’t officially in the Spanish dictionary.

Although the RAE clarified that “the presence of a term in its ‘Word Observatory’ does not imply that the RAE accepts its use”, the word generated confusion among several Internet users who wondered if the regulatory institution was on the way to accept more inclusive language.

Through its website the RAE says that these words are not yet part of the dictionary, since the “information is provisional”, meaning that the use of these terms is not yet recognized by the institution nor are they accepted in academic works, but they are being studied and could be added in the future.

The academy also added several other commonly used words to the official dictionary.

Credit: Victor Blanco / Getty Images

Along with the words ‘elle’ and ‘transfobia’, the academy has also added several other commonly used words by Spanish-speakers. Words like ‘bot’, ‘porfa’, ‘videollamada’, ‘influencer’, ‘guglear’, ‘loguear’, ‘ciberataque’, and ‘cruzazulear’ have all been added to the institution’s Word Observatory meaning they could soon become part of the official language.

The Word Observatory “offers information on words (or meanings of words) and expressions that currently do not appear in the dictionary but that have raised doubts, including recent neologisms, foreign words, technicalities, regionalisms, etc., according to the RAE.

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Pedro Pascal Supports His Sister, Lux, As She Publicly Comes Out As Trans: ‘Mi Hermana, Mi Corazón’

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Pedro Pascal Supports His Sister, Lux, As She Publicly Comes Out As Trans: ‘Mi Hermana, Mi Corazón’

Credit: Getty Images; pascalispunk/Instagram

We always knew there was a reason that Pedro Pascal was one of the internet’s favorite boyfriends. He has always radiated an energy of warmth and kindness–turns out he also walks the walk.

On Tuesday, Pedro Pascal took to Instagram to support his sister, Lux Pascal, who recently came out as a trans woman.

On his Instagram page, Pascal shared a picture of his sister on the cover of Spanish-language Chilean magazine, Ya. The caption read: “Mi hermana, mi corazón, nuestra Lux.”

In an interview with Ya magazine, Lux Pascal opened up about how supportive Pedro has been of her transition.

Lux explained that Pedro “has been an important part of [my transition].” Lux, who is currently studying acting at Juilliard, says that Pedro was able to be a “guide” to her because of his artistic spirit.

“He’s also an artist and has served as a guide for me,” she said. “He was one of the first people to gift me the tools that started shaping my identity.”

But her brother wasn’t the only one that was very accepting of her decision to transition. Lux explained that her transition has been “been something that’s very natural for everyone” in her family.

And like many folks who are gender non-conforming, her family seemed to have known ahead of time. “It’s almost something that they expected to happen,” she said.

Lux revealed to Ya that, for a number of years, she identified as non-binary. But she eventually realized that she actually identifies as a woman.

“Moving through the world as a woman is much more simple for me, but I still advocate for nonbinary identities to have a space in society,” she explained. While she says that existing as a woman was the right decision for her, she still “advocates for nonbinary identities to have a space in society.”

Lux is also passionate about LGBTQ activism, saying that the world needs trans activists who are good, smart, informed, and who can be strong voices against transphobia, homophobia and racism.”

When asked if she feels discomfort at seeing images of herself before her transition, Lux said, “I don’t feel anxiety when I see old photos of mine. The same happens to me with theater: I see someone who was doing what they liked.”

As for her new name (she was previously known by the name “Lucas”), Lux said she didn’t want to lose the meaning of her old name, which meant “he who brings the light.”

She looked to one of her favorite movies for inspiration. “One of the characters in Sofia Coppola’s ‘Virgin Suicides’ was named ‘Lux’ which is light in Latin,” she said. “I was pleased with my childhood memory and that my previous name had signified something I was looking for myself.”

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Recognizing Its Diversity Issue, Argentina Is Working To Add More Transgender Workers To Its Labor Force

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Recognizing Its Diversity Issue, Argentina Is Working To Add More Transgender Workers To Its Labor Force

Leonardo Munoz/VIEWpress via Getty Images

Argentina has long been a progressive bastion in Latin America. It was one of the first countries in the region to allow same-sex marriage and also has anti-discrimination laws in many cities. It’s also been a beacon of hope for the transgender community, with the government long allowing individuals to choose their self-perceived identity regardless of their biological sex.

However, transgender workers still face immense discrimination and that has left a reported 95% of the community without formal employment. To help try and address this issue, the nation’s leaders have instituted a program to ensure that at least 1% of the workforce is made up of trans workers. It’s an ambitious task but the government is already making progress.

Argentina launched a program to ensure better transgender representation in the workforce.

Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández signed a decree in September establishing a 1 percent employment quota for transgender people in the public sector. The law went into effect on January 1 and its aim is to bring more trans workers into the formal economy.

According to Argentina’s LGBTQ community, 95 percent of transgender people do not have formal employment, with many forced to work in the sex industry where they face violence.

“If all the institutions implemented the trans quota, it would change a lot for many of my colleagues. It would change the quality of their lives and they would not die at 34, or 40, which is their life expectancy today,” Angeles Rojas, who recently landed a job at a national bank, told NBC News.

There are no official figures on the size of the transgender community in Argentina, since it was not included in the last 2010 census. But LGBTQ organizations estimate there are 12,000 to 13,000 transgender adults in Argentina, which has a population topping 44 million.

Few countries in the world are stepping up to help trans workers quite like Argentina.

Argentina has long prided itself on its progressive policies. The nation was one of the first in the Americas to recognize same-sex unions and several cities have anti-discrimination laws aimed at protecting the LGBTQ community.

In 2012, Argentina adopted an unprecedented gender identity law allowing transgender people to choose their self-perceived identity regardless of their biological sex. The law also guarantees free access to sex-reassignment surgeries and hormonal treatments without prior legal or medical consent.

Worldwide, only neighboring Uruguay has a comparable quota law promoting the labor inclusion of transgender people. And a law such as this one has the potential to greatly impact the lives of transgendered Argentinians.

Despite the program, transgender people still face enormous challenges in Argentina.

A recent report by the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Trans People published in December said “the vast majority of trans women in the region have sex work as their sole economic and subsistence livelihood.”

It goes on to say: In Latin America and the Caribbean transgender people have their right to work violated along with all their human rights, and this takes place “in a context of extreme violence.”

Despite legal protections, Argentina’s trans community remains at risk. Many of the country’s trans citizens live in the Gondolín, a building in the Buenos Aires’ Palermo neighborhood, for protection and strength in numbers.

There have been advances in Argentina. This year, Diana Zurco became the first transgender presenter of Argentine television news, Mara Gómez was authorized by the Argentine Football Association to play in the professional women’s league and soprano María Castillo de Lima was the first transgender artist to go on stage at Teatro Colón.

However, the gap between the equality established by law and the real one remains large, warned Ese Montenegro, a male transgender activist hired as an adviser to the Chamber of Deputies’ women’s and diversity commission.

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