Lesbros: Peter Suk

The trusty website, UrbanDictionary.com, has several definitions for the term lesbro:

1. A man who has more friendships with lesbians than other women or men.

2. The male equivalent of a fag hag.

3. A heterosexual man who is either one or both of the following: a brother to one or more lesbian sisters, or, friends with a disproportionate amount of homosexual women. “Wow, your brother really only hangs out with gay girls, doesn’t he! And you’re a big gay yourself, sister! What a lesbro you’ve got there!”

To us, a lesbro is a little bit of all, but at his core, a lesbro is a male friend to at least one, but possibly several, lesbians. This column shares a little bit about some famous lesbros that we love.

This week’s Lesbro: Peter Suk.


Photos by Lindsey Byrnes

Peter Suk is a musician and composer based out of Portland, Oregon. He is also the keyboardist, co-singer and co-songwriter in the electro-indie pop duo Mnemonic Sounds. Peter and bandmate Megan Ouchida have completed their first full-length album, Muscle Memories, and Peter also works as a producer, teacher, composer, songwriter and session musician. He is in the midst of writing and recording a second Mnemonic Sounds album, while also composing music for various commercial licensing commissions.

AfterEllen.com: Of the above definitions of Lesbro, which do you think describes you best?

Peter Suk:
Of the three, definition number one best describes my closest friend circle.

AE: What is the best thing about your lesbian friend/s and particularly your band mate Megan?

PS:
I find most of my lesbian friends to be independent women with strong senses of purpose and motivation in all facets of their daily lives. I appreciate their decisiveness, their abilities to communicate honestly and openly.

More specifically with Megan, I would say the best thing about her is her transparency when it comes to how she feels or what she thinks in any given situation. She doesn’t hide her disdain in her facial expressions when I make “that’s what she said jokes” in poor taste, and she won’t back down when we have a disagreement during the creative process of writing and recording music together.

AE: Do you think that having lesbian friends has anything to do with where you fall on the Kinsey scale? Care to comment on your own sexuality?

PS:
I don’t think having lesbian friends affects my own sexuality in any tangible way. But having lesbian friends often reminds me, in daily life, how sexual orientation and sexual presentation are still a defining way in which people differentiate or identify an individual. I find it strange that sexual orientation has any bearing on who a person is, or what makes them unique as an individual. It is stupid, really, that in 2011 someone might describe someone based on their sexuality. I think if one really thinks about that, it really does show how crazy and strange that is.

In general I believe sexuality is a scale that people fall onto with biology being the main determining factor as to how a person defines their orientation. However, I think enforced cultural and societal norms coupled with hundreds of years of institutionalized values being appropriated onto society often affects and influences the scaling on that Kinsey scale. I think there would be more people being open to the middle of the scale, particularly men, if we didn’t live in such a homophobic and Victorian informed culture that encourages that people be straight or gay, or a culture that encourages men to be “manly man,” as if being gay is something that would threaten emasculation.

As for myself, I’m definitely hetero, although I do have an occasional man crush for sure, although it has never been sexual in nature. I can appreciate a good-looking man for sure, though.

AE: What stereotype about lesbians have you found to be false?

PS:
To be honest, I don’t know that many lesbian stereotypes. With the lesbian friends I have, I feel as though there isn’t much of a thread between them all that I could point to. I’ve generally found all my lesbian friends to be quite diverse from each other with a range of personalities, lifestyles, etc.

AE: What do you think it is specifically that draws you towards being friends with lesbians?

PS:
In most cases, I didn’t realize that my friends were lesbians until after the friendship was established. So there never was any draw towards lesbians in general except that they happened to be people I connected with as friends and in the case with Megan, as musicians as well.

AE: Did you know Megan was gay when you started your music project with her? How did that affect your relationship when she came out to you?

PS:
No, I didn’t know Megan was a lesbian until about six months into starting our band together. I recall her calling me on the telephone on an early evening before a practice and her saying something to the effect of “Oh and, by the way, I’m gay. I’m a lesbian.” To which I replied, “That’s great! I appreciate you telling me and am happy you felt comfortable coming out to me.” It was really that matter-of -fact, which was nice because I think she was uncertain what my reaction would be.

In truth, her coming out to me further established our open and honest way of communicating. While we always don’t see eye to eye on some things in the musical process, we always try to maintain a way of talking to each that is direct and open. And I think it solidified and brought us closer together as bandmates and friends because it allowed her to be her complete self with me. It did, however, increase the frequency of “that’s what she said” jokes in her presence, which has increased the eye rolling at me.

AE: How has your girlfriend — or past girlfriends if you are not in a relationship now — responded to your friendships with lesbians?

PS:
It is a definite requirement that any girl I date, past or present, be on the same page with my views on sexuality. If a girl has an ignorant or intolerant view, they are most certainly out! Most girls I’ve dated actually love my lesbian friends and find them to be some of the most dynamic and interesting people in my life.

AE: Where did you grow up?

PS:
I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and have lived here for a good portion of my life. I attended college in Boston and Los Angeles and also lived in London, UK for a year after college and then moved back to Portland again.

AE: Did you have a lot of queer friends in high school? Were people out in high school?

PS:
I didn’t have any gay friends in high school, at least people who had come out. I attended a very strict parochial school with stringent religious and conservative values that didn’t allow for anyone to be honest about their sexuality let alone being gay. In fact, our school didn’t even allow dances — instead we had banquets (aka fancy dinners).

The funny thing is, my oldest friend with whom I went to school with all the way from first through 12th grade came out to me years later after college and told me he was gay and always knew during those formative years. It makes a bit sad as the type of school we went to really just didn’t allow for anyone to be gay both culturally and because of the religious tenants we were brought up with.

AE: You and Megan went to the same church together as kids. How does religion play into your relationship?

PS:
Megan and I did go to the same church for a while but we never interacted much back then due to our age disparity — I’m a few years older.

I reconnected with Megan post college after returning to Portland and heard some of her solo music and that is when we decided to start a band together. Although we were both raised religiously, neither of us are religious as adults. I won’t speak for Megan on the subject, but it really plays no part in our relationship or our music except perhaps as something we both experienced back when we were kids.

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