No Gender? Mind blown. How would you say LA mesA or EL autO?
In the last few years, there have been talks about having the Spanish language become gender neutral by dropping gender identifiers.
Back in the 90s, the term Latin@ was introduced online to include both male and female, but that caused a lot of confusion. There have also been cases where the use of both genders is preferred so as not to sound exclusive. For example, Argentina’s former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner would always say “todos y todas” to regard everyone, but that’s a bit redundant according to the Real Academia Española, the ultimate authority on Spanish.
This isn’t such new news. The ungendering of a language is exactly what what happened to English. Back when it was Old English, it had three gender classifiers: male, female and neutered. Over the years with the evolvement of the language and its interaction with others, it lost them all. So if English can morph and become gender neutral, so can Spanish?
One of the suggestions online is to change the A or O at the end of female and male words to an X, as in Latinx, as a way to reject gender. Some people think this type of word is empowering.
Hector Luis Alamo, deputy editor of Latino Rebels, disagrees. “I get the intention. I get the goal, but I don’t agree with the premise of their argument, which is that the word Latino is exclusive or not inclusive enough. Nowadays, people use the word Latino in a very broad sense to include men and women and LGBT, straight or any type of Latino you can think of.”
So even though we haven’t agreed on gender neutrality for Spanish, we can at least agree that languages are alive and ever-changing. But don’t go calling someone “amigx fabulosx” just yet.
Learn more about how the Spanish language might change from Latino USA here.