LGBTQ organizations in the state claim that the use of the gender neutral Latine, which is becoming more common in Latin America, in official documents is a "victory." [Representation image] Representational Image/Blimmigration

In Connecticut, a group of Latino lawmakers who had previously advocated for banning the term "Latinx" in state documents, deeming it "offensive" and a "woke term," are now proposing the adoption of another gender-neutral word already in use in Spanish-speaking Latin America.

The proposed legislation, known as H.B.-6909, seeks to authorize the use of the terms "Latine," "Latino," and "Latina" in state documents and official communications, while not prohibiting the use of "Latinx."

This recent proposal is seen as a victory by a coalition of LGBTQ groups in the state.

State Representative Geraldo Reyes, a Democrat and the lead co-sponsor of the new bill, had previously spearheaded the effort to ban the term "Latinx."

This action followed the decision of Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders to prohibit the term in state documents on her first day in office.

"In a perfect world, I think that we wouldn't be using the word Latinx...Banning was not the right word but we just don't want to use [Latinx] randomly to associate it with everybody," Reyes said in an interview with NBC News.

"There's no punitive action. There's nobody out there policing it. We're just making this an awareness situation and we'll see how it plays out for a year and then we'll see if we have to do something else next year."

Reyes said that he had different reasons for excluding Latinos than Sanders. He said that the Spanish language "defaults to Latino" for everyone, regardless of gender, and claimed that the term "Latinx" was hurtful to the Puerto Rican community in Connecticut since it is not a Spanish word.

During legislative hearings, LGBTQ groups highlighted the increasing adoption of the gender-neutral term "Latine" (also spelled as Latiné in Latin American countries) within the Latino and Spanish-speaking LGBTQ+ community.

This fact was emphasized as a persuasive factor in the hearings by Nelson Rafael Feliciano Roman, the founder and CEO of the Afro-Caribbean Cultural Center and president of the Greater Waterbury PRIDE coalition, which comprises 15 LGBTQ+ community organizations.

"The fact that we've gotten those six legislators that are just from a different generation to see the light and to acknowledge that the term Latine does come from our community, it is acceptable, it is inclusionary, I think is a victory for the LGBT community," Roman, who testified in the bill's hearings said.

Roman said the revised bill, which is expected to receive support in the Senate, is a fair compromise.

Roman considers himself to be Latine. Due to a dearth of alternatives within the binary Spanish language, he said that he was formerly a strong supporter of the word "Latinx" to express his identity.

Roman claimed that after learning about Latine as a gender-neutral option, Reyes and the other lawmakers changed their minds. The term has been "picking up steam. It organically is coming from Central, South and the Caribbean of the Americas. And now it's here in the U.S.," he said.

The law would take effect in October if it were to pass the state Senate.

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