Lesbros: Jarrod Gorbel


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: Jarrod Gorbel.

Photo by Bryan Sheffield

Jarrod Gorbel was the man behind the musical project The Honorary Title. This past year he has ditched the band moniker and released his first solo album, Devil’s Made A New Friend, followed by his latest offering, The Bruises From Your Bad Dreams EP.

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

Jarrod Gorbel:
Definition 1.

AE: What is the best thing about your lesbian friend/s?

JG: Not overbearing or dramatic, always loyal, possessing the overall vibe of “I don’t give a f–k what you think.” Obviously this can describe any human being, and these characteristics help define a lot of my friends.

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?

JG: I’m friends with people that are completely different from me because they help provide what’s missing. I’m friends with those that are very similar because I can relate.

I’m straight but have a tendency to date girls that are more open sexually. I’d consider myself to possess a lot of effeminate qualities and find that I’m attracted to females with masculine qualities. I sometimes enjoy female softball and volleyball, and think Peppermint Patty and Lucy are very attractive human beings from the Peanuts characters. None of these females are necessarily lesbians, but this is a scale of some sort considering my complete lack of athletic skills.

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

JG: I could go on for years with stereotypes — every race, religion, culture and sexuality has them, and sometimes they fit and sometimes they don’t.

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

JG: I’m friends with mostly females, in general. Maybe this is because I grew up more around my mother then my father, at a younger age I typically hung out with artistic folks, or geeks, nerds and tweebs.

AE: How has your girlfriend responded to your friendships with lesbians?

JG: My girlfriend has many gay guy friends so it’s a good balance.

AE: What is the first thing that comes to mind when I say same sexy marriage?

JG: Personally I support same sex marriage. It seems ridiculous and almost primitive that government policy hasn’t caught up with public acceptance of same sex marriage. America has come a long way [with] Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell but still has a long way to go.

AE: You have toured with your bands for many years. Have you gone on tour with any all girl bands or female fronted bands?

JG: I toured with a all-girl band called Rocket once.

AE: It seems like you tend to collaborate with female artists a lot. What do you like about collaborating with women?

JG: I have always been a huge fan of female singers and singer/songwriters. In the ‘90s, I loved Ani Difranco, Tori Amos, Liz Phair and Bjork. Today I listen to Cat Power, Regina Spektor, Jenny Lewis, Sharon Van Etten, Adele, Tegan and Sara and Nellie McKay. I really like classics such as Etta and Aretha, as well as Dusty Springfield and Nancy Sinatra.

The female voice seems so much more multi-dimensional then the males it carries emotion is such a sultry and delicate way but can be ultra powerful as well in R&B and soul. I had Orenda Fink sing many of the higher harmonies on my latest record I just love how her tone worked with mine. I have been touring most recently with a female violin player who sings as well, named Andrea Babinski — another voice that undoing very complimentary with mine. I have also toured with folk singer Jaymay who would accompany me on many of my songs.

On my latest EP I did a duet with another female voice I love, Nicole Atkins The song is called “Miserable Without You” and when I wrote it, I knew she’d be perfect. Plus she lives in Brooklyn, which made things real easy logistically. Her voice is powerful and unique and has a very classic tone.

Whether on record or on tour, I tend to work better with girls. I have always tended to gravitate towards artists that have huge lesbian followings — at least in their beginnings. I have to admit I went to see the Gossip many years ago and felt very much like the minority. Back in the day I would travel with a mostly lesbian group of friends to see Ani D. I was obsessed at the time.

AE: You are on tour now with the organization To Write Love On Her Arms, how did this come about and what drew you to that organization?

JG: TWLOHA is a non profit organization created to help young people who suffer from depression, addiction, self-injury and and suicide. I met the founder, Jamie Tworkowski, years ago when I was in my old band, The Honorary Title.

Most of the songs I’ve written over the years were inspired by these very issues. It seemed like an obvious pairing. The organization helps young people find the correct treatment and community they may require. It also encourages others to reach out and help those they may know who suffer from such problems. I tend to turn my problems into song or towards humor, this organization helps young people find their own ways of coping.

To find out more about Jarrod Gorbel, visit JarrodGorbelmusic.com.

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