Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, one of former President Donald Trump’s press secretaries, is the new governor of Arkansas. For her first day on the job (Tuesday, Jan. 10), Gov. Sanders signed an executive order that bans the use of “Latinx” in any official capacity within the Arkansas government. The term, which has been divisive within the Latine community, is an inclusive alternative to the gendered Latino/a. The executive order is already drawing harsh criticism for that being one of her first — but it also begs the question: How does this help the residents of Arkansas?
Gov. Sanders was busy on her first day in office, signing a barrage of executive orders ranging from critical race theory in schools to using TikTok on government devices and banning “Latinx.” The executive order officially banning the gender-neutral term and any derivatives is titled “Executive Order to Respect the Latino Community by Eliminating Culturally Insensitive words from Official Use in Government.”
The term “Latinx” became prominent in progressive circles years ago as an attempt to de-gender the blanket term Latino for the community. Specifically, it gave nonbinary and certain members of the trans community a way to identify with a community without having to align with a gendered term.
The executive order is receiving backlash from many claiming that it is nothing more than a way to marginalize minority communities further and keeping in line with the recent push by Republicans to attack what they see as “woke ideology.”
“It is something that seems to be tied to things that they object to, which is really anything that prioritizes marginalized people and marginalized points of view,” Ed Morales, the author of Latinx: The New Force in American Politics and Culture, told NBC News.
Whatever the reason Gov. Sanders’ office gives and whichever term you choose to identify with, taking away someone’s right to identify with this term is rooted in transphobia and harmful views.