Campus News

Youth Empowerment Alliance event brings Latinx into discussion


Founded in 2013, Y.E.A. hosts events like this roundtable to bring DREAMers on and off campus together.  | Courtesy of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion

Although rising in popularity, the term “Latinx,” which is used to describe anyone who identifies as a Latino or Latina, is still relatively unknown in mainstream media and everyday conversation.

To alleviate the problem at UH, the Youth Empowerment Alliance on Friday afternoon hosted a roundtable, “We are Latinx: A Discussion on Identity and Inclusion,” at the Center for Diversity and Inclusion in Student Center South.

The term evolved from the gender-neutral “Latin@s,” but it was not explicitly inclusive of transgender and gender-nonconforming people. Latinx is an effort by young adults to foster inclusivity in an otherwise gender-based language.

“In today’s society a lot of people talk about the community as gender based, so male or female,” said political science junior Maria Gonzalez-Trevino. “The term Latinx is more diverse and inclusive, it’s open to transgender and other people.”

Prior to the discussion, Y.E.A. stressed the importance of respect and acceptance of the different views that could be brought up. A recurring topic was the difficulty of changing the views of an antiquated and conservative culture on gender and sexuality issues.

“Within our own culture, we’re still not at that level where individuals that are not straight or not (cisgender) are living comfortably or even safely,” said Guadalupe Orozco, an anthropology senior and Y.E.A. member.

Orozco said UH still has ways to go as far as exposure is concerned.

“I think that we need more attention,” Orozco said. “A lot of people don’t know this center even exists and a lot of students don’t know that there are resources available here for them.”

Paul Godenitz, a construction management senior, agreed.

“This term could be used more,” Godenitz said. “I didn’t know about it until today and it’s helped me a lot, I think it can also help others if they know it’s here and available to them.”

Godenitz said the roundtable opened up communication on a topic that is often not discussed — even in the Latinx community.

“The various topics we talked about today are essential for somebody to understand, not only at UH, but the Latinx community as a whole,” Godenitz said.

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