On Monday, Univision wrapped up its Pride Month coverage by once again pushing for non-words to become a part of the Spanish language. On this occasion, the crew at Despierta America lobbied for the use of non-binary terms like “Elle”, a deviation that mashes ella, for her, and él, for him, as a new sexless pronoun, regardless of the fact that less than five percent of the population identifies as non-binary.
The network’s effort to eliminate the grammatically correct – and accepted – Spanish male and female pronouns, followed countless of on-air hours pushing the non-binary, egalitarian non-word Latinx, down the throats of its viewers. This time around, the premise was that in order to be “accepted and included” by society, you must be called something that doesn’t exist, as this video compilation from the morning talk show Despierta America showed:
ASTRID RIVERA: “Elles,” “todes,” “amigues,” “niñes.” Have you noticed that more and more people have been using this language?
ACTIVIST: Nosotres no estamos abiertos, o abiertes…
ASTRID RIVERA: For some it is confusing when speaking, but for others it is a correction containing a deeper meaning that establishes gender equality in terms of language. For example, in the word “niño,” you change the “o” for an “e.”
RIVERA: Although “elle'' is the most common inclusive pronoun, the Royal Spanish Academy is still debating on whether to accept it or not. In October of 2020 the pronoun “elle '' was included in the observatory of words to be added to the dictionary at a given time. However a few days later it was eliminated with the statement: “we have eliminated this word because of the confusion it has caused.”
JUAN CARLOS ESPINOSA: It seems to me that what is important is not the arguments about vocabulary but the way in which we dignify human beings. Inclusiveness brings about opportunities in which to find similarities as opposed to differences.
RIVERA: It is estimated that less than 5% of the population identifies as nonbinary.
CARLOS CALDERON: Even though it is 5% --ten, fifteen--it doesn’t matter. If we need to change our language for them to be shown respect and feel included, let’s just do that.
The Univision report featured three LBGTQ activists pushing for the end of pronouns as we know them in the Spanish language, where most words have a feminine and masculine version; suggesting, for example, that instead of niña for girl, or niño for boy, the term should be the gender-neutral niñe. Not one dissenting voice was considered in the report.
However, the six-minute rant self-imploded when Rivera mentioned that in October, the entity that regulates the Spanish-language, the Royal Spanish Academy, included the word elle- “the most inclusive pronoun”, – “ in the observatory of words to be added to the dictionary at a given time,” they quickly banished it “because of the confusion it has caused.”
In its drive to include content relevant to their political agenda, Univision forgot who their main audience is: an audience known for being deeply religious and above all, defender of traditional family values, including the use of ella y él: her and him.
MRC Latino intern Maesa Vicente collaborated in this blog.
Click "expand" to read the complete transcript of the segment mentioned above as it aired.
Univision's Despierta America
June 28, 2021
CARLOS CALDERON: Thank you for staying with us here at Despierta America today. It’s June 28th, and people around the world are celebrating LGBTQ Pride Day -a community that has been trying to promote inclusion and acceptance through various activities throughout this entire month.
FRANCISCA LACHAPEL: That’s right. And many wonder, what exactly is this new inclusive language? Astrid Rivera will give us the details. So go ahead, Astrid.
ASTRID RIVERA: “Elles,” “todes,” “amiges,” “niñes.” Have you noticed that more and more people have been using this language?
ACTIVIST: Nosotres no estamos abiertos, o abiertes…
ASTRID RIVERA: For some it is confusing when speaking, but for others it is a correction containing a deeper meaning that establishes gender equality in terms of language. For example, in the word “Niño,” you change the “o” for an “e.”
MONICA TRASANDES: Inclusive language, when used, simply sends a message that you respect people. And it shows that you understand that not everyone has a gender identity that is based on their appearance.
RIVERA: Sexual orientation addresses who you are attracted to, and whether you feel romantic, emotional, or sexual attraction.
JUAN CARLOS ESPINOSA: There is a genetic factor with regard to sexual orientation, so we cannot choose it.
RIVERA: Gender identity refers to a conscious feeling in a person as belonging to the masculine or feminine sex.
TRASANDES: We are seeing that young people are no longer feeling attached or restricted to past definitions. Some young people who consider themselves men, or masculine say, “you know what, I’m going to wear a bit of makeup or a skirt…” and there’s no problem.
RIVERA: For most people, their gender identity correlates to their physical appearance. In other words, they feel identified with the gender that was assigned to them at birth. This is known as cisgender. For others, their gender identity might not correlate to their physical body. And they may have been born with a partly masculine body, but are certain that they feel like women on the inside, or vice versa. This is known as transgender. Such is the case of actor Eliot Page, who came out as a trans man at the beginning of the year.
DEMI LOVATO: Over the past year and a half I’ve been doing some healing and self reflective work. And through this work I’ve had the revelation that I identify as non-binary.
RIVERA: Demi Lovato decided to identify herself as nonbinary, which means that her gender identity does not fit completely under either feminine or masculine genders. At this point she also decided to change her pronouns to “elles” or “elle” (they/them). It is estimated that less than 5% of the population identifies as nonbinary.
MARIA JOSE CARPENA MELERO: It wasn’t until 2020 that I finally felt comfortable to come out and publicly identify as a nonbinary person.
RIVERA: Maria Jose there are many people that do not approve of inclusive language, saying that it is confusing and tends to divide people since some people prefer using this language and others do not. They believe it imposes on regular language because it is something they are not used to.
CARPENA MELERO: The Spanish that we are currently using...the English that we are using in work environments...and in fact, most modern language is imposed (language).
RIVERA: Instagram already allows you to choose your pronouns. Although “elle'' is the most common inclusive pronoun, the Royal Spanish Academy is still debating on whether to accept it or not. In October of 2020 the pronoun “elle '' was included in the observatory of words to be added to the dictionary at a given time. However a few days later it was eliminated with the statement: “we have eliminated this word because of the confusion it has caused.” You have started to use the pronoun “elle” since 2020, or practically since last year. How have you felt since beginning to use (the term) and liberating yourself within that identity?
MELERO: It is like starting to exist inside a person that has been there for over two decades who didn’t know how to to be identified because it did not fall under the characteristics of male or female.
ESPINOSA: It seems to me that what is important is not the arguments about vocabulary but the way we treat other human beings with dignity through inclusion, as well as opportunities to find more common ground instead of differences.
CARPENA MELERO: To respect identity is also to respect existence. It is not that difficult to refer to someone as “elle.” It is not that difficult to start using inclusive language.
CARLOS CALDERON: The truth is that it is complicated but we may find it easier to do what one of the girls said about using this language in terms of respect. Even though it is 5% --ten, fifteen--it doesn’t matter. If we need to change our language for them to be shown respect and feel included, let’s just do that.
LACHAPEL: We show our respect by taking the time to understand how they want to be called. I like the way things are going and that little by little we become more inclusive. There is still much to do but I think we are heading in the right direction.
CALDERON: And also that the members of that community be patient with us because it also is difficult for us to adapt to these pronouns.
JESUS DIAZ: And the more it is understood, the more you accept it, I think that is the key. The more you understand the process, the more you accept it.
CALDERON: Gender rights equal peace.