HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A group of Hispanic lawmakers in Connecticut has proposed that the state follow Arkansas’ lead and ban the term “Latinx” It is taken from government records and deemed offensive by Spanish speakers.

It is used in a non-sexist way to refer to gender. “Latino” “Latina” and is helpful in supporting people who do not identify as either male or female, according to the word’s backers.

But state Rep. Geraldo Reyes Jr. of Waterbury, the bill’s chief sponsor and one of five Hispanic Democrats who put their names on the legislation, said Latinx is not a Spanish word but is rather a “woke” Term that is considered offensive Connecticut’s large Puerto Rican population.

“I’m of Puerto Rican descent and I find it offensive,” He stated.

This month Arkansas banned government officials from using Latinx in formal documents, as part of several orders by Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders in just hours after she took office.

Reyes said his motivations might be different from Sanders’, but he believes her decision was the right one.

In 2021, The League of United Latin American Citizens (the oldest Latino civil rights organization in America) announced that Latinx would be no more used.

“The Spanish language, which is centuries old, defaults to Latino for everybody,” Reyes said. “It’s all-inclusive. They didn’t need to create a word, it already exists.”

But Maia Gil’Adi, an assistant professor of “Latinx and Multiethnic Literature” Boston University said that the term actually comes back to Latino youths and queer culture of the 1990s. “x” being a nod to many people’s indigenous roots.

“The word Latino is incredibly exclusionary, both for women and for non-gender conforming people,” She said. “And the term Latinx is really useful because of the way it challenges those conceptions.”

David Pharies is a Spanish Language Professor at the University of Florida. He said that another movement would replace it. “o” “a” Many Spanish nouns refer to persons with an “e.” He stated that this is a Spanish word that Spanish-speakers would find easier to pronounce that Latinx.

“Latinx was clearly a solution that was proposed outside the Spanish-speaking world,” He stated.

It’s not clear how often the term Latinx has been used in state documents. A search for the word on the state government’s portal returned 945 hits for documents Press releases, blogs and other reports that use the word. Michelle Dumas Keuler is an attorney representing the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. Connecticut Media that uses the term to refer to any complaint submitted about housing, employment, and other forms of discrimination when asked.

Reyes said he expects the bill to get a hearing before the Democratic-controlled Legislature’s Government Administration and Elections Committee at the moment.

Democratic Governor Ned Lamont’s spokesman, Adam Joseph, said the governor’s office will follow the debate as the bill moves through the Legislature.