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Working Group Members

Sabine Gabaron

Lecturer IV of French

Despite many changes in the French language these past years, I am surprised at and disappointed in how very little attention is directed toward inclusive writing and gender representation in textbooks.  I am very much interested in finding ways to promote awareness and productive discussions, and ultimately collaborate in the development of teaching materials to strengthen our language program.

Amber Galvano (she/they)

Spanish Major

I’m volunteering for this committee because, as an undergraduate, I observed and felt the need for expanded gender-diverse language and representation in the Romance language classroom. Students who enter these classrooms deserve the tools to describe themselves and others accurately in their second language, and I want to help promote an educational environment where acknowledgement of gender-diverse identities is normalized. Establishing that space can make a world of a difference in the lives of trans and nonbinary students, and it’s important for all students to be aware of relevant linguistic innovations and cultural issues in the languages they learn.

Blake Gutt (he/him)

Assistant Professor of French

I'm volunteering with the committee to help ensure that non-binary and neutral language is available in all of RLL's language and culture classes. It's important that every student is aware of these major linguistic innovations and, above all, it's crucial that non-binary and agender students are given the tools to accurately express their identities in the languages they're studying.



Nicholas Henriksen (he/him)

Associate Professor of Spanish Linguistics

As Associate Chair of RLL, I believe it is crucial to acknowledge and address all barriers that can disrupt an inclusive learning atmosphere. One such challenge lies within the structure of Romance languages: our goal of maintaining an inclusive environment is hindered by the prevalence of gender-binary grammatical forms when alternative, increasingly-popular gender-inclusive pronouns exist. Confronting these realities also relates to my research as a linguist, and I'm excited to collaborate with my peers to understand how language is adapting to an evolving cultural context. Above all, as a member of Michigan’s academic community, I strive to promote a diverse and equitable campus that welcomes all gender-nonconforming identities.

Michela Russo (she/her)

Lecturer I of Spanish and Italian

As a teacher in RLL, I acknowledge that pronouns intervene profoundly with the constitution of gender identity and a sense of self. Language is one of the most common mechanisms by which gender is constructed and reinforced, through both grammar structures and everyday-life language performances, especially within and across educational spaces. Language, however, can also be the site of micro and macro aggressions, oppression, and discrimination. As such, I recognize the enormous power that languages hold. I acknowledge and value the intersection between language, cultural and educational practices, and the great ethical responsibility that we, as educators, hold in honoring principles of justice, respect, and equity through language matters. 

Sergio Villalobos-Ruminott (he/him)

Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies

I volunteered as a way to support diversity and the ongoing fights for its recognition.