E!: I think for some there’s confusion about the difference between the terms “Hispanic”, “Latino” and “Latinx.” Can you help clarify?
LV: I always say this: The idea of identifying as Hispanic or Latinx in itself is a very American concept. When I’m in Mexico, I do not identify as Hispanic or Latina. I am Mexican, because that is what I am. I’m half Mexican and half Puerto Rican. If I’m in Argentina, and somebody asks me where I’m from, I say “Soy Mexicana y Puertorriqueña.” That’s my makeup.
But here’s the difference: The word Hispanic, effectively what that means is that someone descends from a Spanish-speaking country. Then you have the words Latino, Latina, Latinx, and that is somebody who descends from a Latin American country. What’s interesting about that is that it is inclusive of people from Brazil and Portugal, who don’t speak Spanish, they speak Portuguese.
And you add the X in there because that is a gender-neutral term. In Spanish you have male and female endings so like someone is pretty, she’s bonita, and if something is pretty but it’s masculine, it’s bonito. The x replaces that. I identify as Latina because that is what I am—I am a woman who identifies as a woman—but when I think about my community I like to say Latinx because it’s inclusive of my Latinos who identify as male, my Latinas who identify as female, and my Latinos who don’t identify.