Let's Talk About Language!
Please note that I am writing about trans issues as a cisgender female. My intention is to raise awareness and educate people. If any of the information I provide is inaccurate or offensive, please let me know. I am always happy to discuss and learn!
Language changes. All the time. Words and phrases constantly go in and out of use. This is true of any language. And we are witnessing a change happening now with the Spanish language. This change comes from the need to find gender neutral, inclusive language.
It started with finding away to culturally identify. Until now, those of Latin American heritage have been referred to as Latina ("a" = feminine), Latino ("o" = masculine), and collectively Latinos ("os" = plural mixed gender). Additionally, Spanish speakers use the pronouns ella (she/her) and el (he/him). This works if you identify as female or male but as we know, those are not the only genders that exist (they aren't even the only biological sexes that exist, but that's a bit off topic). So how do non-binary, gender non-conforming, gender fluid, and other genders culturally identify themselves; what pronouns are available for them? In English, it's pretty simple - culturally anyone can simply state they're Latin/Latin American and use pronouns they/them. Additionally, the letter "x" has been added to gendered words in an attempt to make them more inclusive, which has given us the term Latinx. However, because of the gendered nature of the Spanish language, there is no gender neutral they/them pronoun. Luckily, language continues evolving.
While Latinx is a helpful alternative, it does make for some awkwardness, mostly in regards to pronunciation. Ellx, elx - the "x "doesn't quite work here. Enter the letter "e". The latest step in inclusive language is the addition of the letter "e" instead of the gendered "o" and "a", giving us Latine and elle. For Spanish speakers this has a more natural flow and is easy to say.
I will not hide the fact that I have a preference for the "e" over the letter "x" but I am also very aware of the privilege I have a cisgender Latina.
Ultimately, it is up to the individual person to decide what terms apply to them, be it Latin, Latinx, or Latine. If you're not sure (and even if you think you're sure) about someone's gender identity or their pronouns, simply ask.
I want to reiterate that I speak as a cisgender woman. My intent is simply to educate others. If I have come off as ignorant or offensive please let me know. I too want to be educated.