The debate on whether the word “Filipinx” should be used as a gender-neutral term for Filipinos is on after a San Diego Comic-Con viral tweet drew flak for using the controversial term on 21 July.
The tweet in question is a photo of the panel’s hosts, with the caption, “The Filipinx Voices in Pop Culture was a fun and educational all Filipinx panel discussing Filipinx influences behind your favorite media!”
Filipino Internet users were quick to notice the usage of the term and immediately responded with criticisms, making the word trend on Twitter Philippines with over 3,000 tweets.
Netizens complained that using the term “Filipinx” should stop since the correct term “Filipino” is already gender-neutral and contained in the Philippine Constitution.
“As an actual Filipino, that term is offensive. Tatlong beses niyo pa binanggit. Our language is gender-neutral already,” Twitter user @yoopichan said.
Some users regarded the term as sexist, similar to “Latinx” which was likewise used as gender-neutral term for Latino or Latina in the American Hispanic community.
While Filipino is indeed gender-neutral, there are words in the Tagalog language that are gender-specific, such as ate and kuya (older sister and older brother). However, these words originate from Chinese influences, as well as feminine and masculine Spanish suffixes -a and -o such as in ninang and ninong (godmother and godfather).
Hence, some critics argue that the Tagalog language has changed through colonization.
In 2020, online lexicon site Dictionary.com added the word “Filipinx” to its system, along with 649 other words. According to the website, it is used as an alternative word for Filipino or Filipina to indicate gender-neutrality.
Despite having noble intentions by using the word “Filipinx,” it is hardly accepted by some Filipinos due to its colonial nature.
The San Diego Comic-Con organizers has not publicly responded to any of the backlash they received from using the controversial term.