Podcast: Breaking the Binary of Sexuality and Gender Norms Panel

On May 21, 2019, the Friends Select PA LGBTQ+ Family and Friends Group presented a special event panel, moderated by Evan Thornburg, Deputy Director for the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs. Learn through discussion about the changing landscape of identification and best practices.

Special thanks to Shelley Spector P'17, '20, chair of the LGBTQ+ Family and Friends Group, Toni Graves Williamson, director of equity and inclusion, and the SAGA student group for their support of this event underwritten by the Parent Association.


Evan Thornburg currently serves as the Deputy Director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs for the Kenney Administration in Philadelphia, PA and is a diversity expert specializing in policy development, program design, and comprehensive training on LGBTQ identities and intersectionality. For 13 years, Evan has trained individuals and collaborated with organizations and institutions on inclusion, competency, advocacy, and proactive engagement of LGBTQ individuals, specifically LGBTQ folx of color, elders, and youth. Currently Evan is redesigning the mandated citywide anti-sexual harassment training program, implementing an LGBTQ Leadership Pipeline Program for Philadelphia, and providing LGBTQ competency trainings for Philadelphia City departments so they can make more inclusive work spaces.


Briyana D. Clarel is a black queer writer, performer, and educator dedicated to making the arts, education, and healing accessible to all. Briyana founded The Starfruit Project, an initiative bringing creativity for radical healing and growth to communities of color. They are currently the Creative Nonfiction Editor for Homology Lit. Briyana’s writing is published in cavity, Black Youth Project, MELANINzine, and several print anthologies. Their solo show unboxed: a healing debuted at the OUTsider Festival and they directed Rage to Heal, as part of the Cohen New Works Festival. They are a recipient of the Acts of Greatness LGBTQ Youth Community Award and an ASTEP Artist as Citizen Fellow.

Leo Gonzalez is an engineer by day and a musician/drag queen by night.  He had two completely different experiences growing up as part of the LGBTQA+ in both the Philippines and the United States. He lived in a quiet South Jersey suburb and moved to Philadelphia after graduating. Ever since, he has worked in the city being actively involved in LGBTQA+ affairs. He co-founded and was an executive director of the non-profit Philadelphia LGBTQ Arts Initiative, which raised almost $100,000 in its first year. There aim is to also open up dialogue regarding artistry as a form of gender expression.

Teo O’Brien is 18 and a trainer specializing in creating safer spaces. Teo is currently the Youth Space lead at the Trans Wellness conference, which will take place this year at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia from July 25th through July 27th. They are a freelance LGBTQ competency trainer and most recently trained faculty and students at the University of Pennsylvania. Additionally, Teo works with the Mazzoni Center, an organization in Philadelphia dedicated to meeting the health and wellness of the LGBTQ communities.

Libby Parker is a clinical social worker serving the LGBTQ+ community. Mx. Parker is an outpatient therapist and manager of Einstein Health Network’s PRIDE Program, where they help guide and support multiple services uniquely designed to meet the needs of LGBTQ+ identified patients. Mx. Parker provides consultation services and conducts trainings for diverse professionals in addition to their work as an outpatient therapist for LGBTQ+ identified individuals, relationships, and families. Most recently they have joined the team at Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania where they support trans folx in initiating hormone therapy.