According to Google Trends data, Latinx began emerging as early as 2004, but really started popping up in online searches some time in late 2014. During this period, the term had mostly been used in left-leaning and queer communities as a way to promote inclusivity in language. But thanks to social media users on sites like Tumblr and Twitter, Latinx gained a foothold by mid-2015, and its use began spreading beyond LGBTQIA communities.
“Once the term ‘Latinx’ was made more visible, it certainly aligned with what I had been learning about gender non-conformity,” Filiberto Nolasco Gomez, founder of Latin American culture blog El Huateque, told NTRSCTN. “It seemed like the right direction for my website to embrace ‘Latinx’ as a political statement and a dismantling of binaries.”
By dismantling some of the gendering within Spanish, Latinx helped modernize the idea of a pan-Latin American experience—or Latinidad—one that reflects what it means to be of Latin American descent in today’s world. The term also better reflects Latin America's diversity, which is more in line with intersectionality, the study of the ways that different forms of oppression (e.g. sexism, racism, classism, and heterosexism) intersect.
“The use of the 'x' is really important to me,” Chicanx performance artist Artemisa Clark told NTRSCTN. “The 'x' shows a development of broader Latinx movements, one more actively concerned with issues of gender and queerness.”