For those who do not fit within the narrow confines of the gender binary, Spanish is not inherently an inclusive language. In recent years, our community has attempted to rectify this by making the language more (inclusive). For example, instead of using Latinos to describe people with Latin American heritage, they use Latinx or Latines. However, there are some who feel the word Latino already does an effective job at grouping a large number of people and that we shouldn’t be changing the Spanish language. The Real Academia Española (RAE), the official source on the Spanish language, falls squarely into this camp.
This week, RAE released its first style manual – edited along with Asociación de Academias de la Lengua Española (ASALE) – for the Spanish language, and in the opening chapter, it rejects the use of “x” and “e” as gender-neutral alternatives, according to Clarín. The academy said we should default to the masculine because it can also encompass the feminine. (Though this doesn’t offer a solution to those who do not identify as either male or female.) However, if there’s a group of 100 women and one man joins them, the group is no longer “ellas” but “ellos.” It’s another reason people have started using terms, such as “ellx” and “elles.”
But the RAE remains inflexible when it comes to gender inclusive terms. “The problem is we’re confusing grammar with machismo,” said Darío Villanueva, RAE’s director.
It’s not the first time the RAE has spoken out against the “x,” but it’s not as if the academy isn’t adding new vocabulary. “Tuit,” “Yutubero,” and “guasap” are part of its glossary, but instead of using a term like “jaquer,” it suggests people use “pirata informático.”