Latinx Is

something between Latino and Latina, reclaiming how we are defined
hombres sitting in front of lit mirrors with a table full of cosmetics & mujeres
with skin fades and ACE-bandaged-down breasts. Something like drag queens

at La Escuelita and butches at Café con Leche, like your cool tio that teaches 
you how to death drop and titi with a mustache. Something like your primo
that mysteriously disappeared from the family and is never spoken about. 

Somewhere between “When did you come into this country?” & brown babies
in hospital delivery rooms. Growing up in a country where we are told to go back 
to wherever we came from. Somewhere between being oppressed by white-washed 

politicians that come from families that look like us & our bodies outlined with white 
chalk on sidewalks when we are killed. Checked boxes without nuance. Something 
between J-Lo & Jenny from the block, Rita Hayworth & Rita Moreno, migrating across 

rivers & spending all your money on airfare. Something between VapoRub & brujeria
Appreciating art by Goya & Trump-loving Goya products from Spain. Taco Tuesdays 
& the waitstaff and cooks at Italian restaurants, children in cages & kids bussed to

schools where they are called “Spics!” Teens turning to gangs for brotherhood/
sisterhood & in the hood, maricones getting gay-bashed. Alcoholism & Corona, tequila, margaritas, mezcal. Somewhere between a quinceañera and a Sweet Sixteen.

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo & clutching your purse as brown boys walk by. Fetishizing Latin lovers & sex-trafficking girls who speak Spanish. Getting displaced by gentrification & “They’re taking over our neighborhoods!” Somewhere between

desirable & Undesirable. Being unwanted no matter what letter closes us out—an o, an a, an x, an e.

Somewhere between Vanna White and “Wanna buy a vowel?” Somewhere between
“Your English is so good!” and speaking Spanglish. Somewhere between the right to live
the American dream & being a “welfare queen!” Somewhere between “Gracias to the

Academy!” & filling up our prisons. Somewhere between “¡El pueblo, unido, jamás
vencido!” and “We’re Here! We’re Queer! Get used to it!” Somewhere between Dia
de los
Muertos & painting your face white to symbolize death. Somewhere between “You

have the right to remain silent!” and “Silence equals death.” Somewhere between
telenovelas and the new One Day at a Time. Somewhere between Richie Valens & Cardi
B. Gender fluid like Walter Mercado and Demi Lovato. Somewhere between

Bunny’s favorite snacks & Bad Bunny. Something like we were here on this
land first and x marks the damn spot!

Copyright © 2023 by Emanuel Xavier. Originally published in Love(ly) Child, by Rebel Satori Press.