farhanist asked: Can you explain to me why it’s written ‘Latin@s’? I’ve seen this spelling but don’t know the meaning behind it. Thank you! :)
(Boring spanish lesson ahead)
In the Spanish language most (not all) nouns are assigned gender—masculine or feminine. Some words ending with o and all words ending aje, án, ambreare, or are assigned masculine identity. Words that are identified as feminine often end with a, cia, ción, sión, dad, tad, tud, umbre. That being said, the word latino is a musculine noun and is often used to refer to men; latina is a feminine noun that is always used to refer to woman.
The term Latin@ can be used simply to textually shorten writing in both “latina and latino.” However, other people, particularly activists, may use the term for political reasons to promote gender equality/gender neutrality.
Let me elaborate (i hope i’m not confusing you or anyone as of yet), Spanish nouns that are plural are almost always assigned a male gender. So although the word Latinos may refer to both latinas and latinos, many might agree that this is a sexist approach. The @ in latin@ is then used as an alternative to establish gender neutrality.
In addition, there are many people who do not identify with either the “a” or the “o,” and do not feel they need to ascribe to either feminine nor masculine nouns. The term latin@ and (the usage of @ in gendered identity-descriptive nouns altogether) is an inclusive word that can be used as a third option that doesn’t conform to the traditional (perhaps outdated) gender binary.
I hope this helps answer your question!
Beautiful answer from our contributing author tortillachronicles.