Ask a Radical Copyeditor: Folx

arc_folx_final

Q: Alex, your recent share from Laverne Cox included the phrase “trans folx.” Is this a thing?

A: Good question! It is a thing. I’ve exclusively seen it from queer and trans people, usually people of color.

In 2014, Trans Folx Fighting Eating Disorders explained: “Folx might be a more regional California term, but we use it to indicate Q/T/gender-diverse community and to denote a politicized identity.”

So it’s basically a coded way of saying “folks like us”—that is, a within-community expression used by people who are radically non-conforming in terms of gender and/or sexuality and for whom their identities are deeply, radically political.

In May 2017, Reddit user truetrans offered this additional helpful take:

Similar to how people are using Latinx instead of Latina/Latino in queer, trans, [and] LGBTQ+ politics around that identity, people organizing and theorizing in queer, trans, and other people of color spaces use Folx instead of folks. The X is to designate gender nonconformity, gender neutrality, and/or gender nonbinary sentiments. It is a way to replace folks with a word that invokes mental imagery and association with queer/trans people.

 

The thought is that when we simply say “folks” people think of “men and women, gender conforming people.” When these communities use the word “folx” it signifies a recognition that in that community there are people outside of binary gender systems and heterosexual norms.

What’s your take on folx? Comment below! Want to ask a radical copyeditor something? Contact me! Was this post helpful to you? Consider making a donation!

Note: This post was updated on August 3, 2018, to add the quote from truetrans.


More posts you might like:

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The Radical Copyeditor’s Style Guide for Writing About Transgender People
ARC_latinx_final
Ask a Radical Copyeditor: “Latinx”
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The Spectrum of Language

 

One thought on “Ask a Radical Copyeditor: Folx

  1. The main explanation I’ve seen for folx is that it makes the word sort of explicitly gender neutral, because in many languages folks has masc/feminine variations and thus will be translated away from gender neutrality. Using “folx” prevents that. This is why you see it more often among queer/trans communities, since that’s where gender-aware folx congregate, but the usage shouldn’t be limited to us QTs!

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