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: William Fitzsimmons.
William Fitzsimmons is a songwriter from Jacksonville, Illinois. A former mental health therapist, Fitzsimmons was raised by two blind musician parents, and later became a musician himself. He has released four albums and may or may not have the best beard you’ve ever seen.
AfterEllen.com: Of the above three definitions of lesbro, which do you think describes you best?
William Fitzsimmons: I suppose number 3 is probably the best descriptor for me. I was actually raised in a very strict, conservative manner, so I was pretty sheltered growing up — and by “pretty sheltered,” I mean extremely sheltered. Once I had the opportunity to venture out on my own, travel, meet new people, I was really drawn to people that came from varied and different backgrounds and lifestyles.
AE: What is the best thing about your lesbian friend/s?
WF: I really feel most comfortable around folks who are sensitive to and open to their own emotionality and who are fine with having an affect — outward expressiveness — which lines up with their inner experiences. In other words, people who are open and honest. To be sure there’s people from any place, sexual orientation, race, etc. who fall into that category, but, without fail, those in my family and friends who are lesbians seem to have that capacity and quality more than most.
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?
WF: I think the Kinsey Scale was brilliant for forwarding the notion that sexuality has qualities which vary along a continuum, as opposed to being discrete issues — sorry, one too many graduate statistics courses. But I think there are so many other factors to consider — personality, disposition, etc. — that it’s probably too simple to say that any one single thing could determine who we’ll end up being close to in our lives.
I personally fall on the hetero side of the scale, but I think my lesbian friendships are about who I and they are, more than just about sexuality by itself. We are invariably extremely complicated beings.
AE: What stereotype about lesbians have you found to be false?
WF: I actually spent years working as a mental health therapist, and the truth is I have seen any stereotype you could think of, about any type of person, blown to pieces by sitting with people for weeks and months at a time and getting to know them inside and out; darkness and light. When you actually get to know someone, really understand their drives, history, and so forth, you quickly realize nobody can be boiled down to any one thing.
AE: What do you think it is specifically that draws you towards being friends with lesbians?
WF: Openness. More than anything. Also, unlike with my guy friends, I know I’ll always have the best beard in the room. Well, I guess I probably would have that no matter where I am.
AE: How has your wife responded to your friendships with lesbians?
WF: Oh completely fine. She’s great with it because she ends up usually becoming great friends with them as well.
AE: You said that your upbringing was very strict, both your parents were blind did they feel that they needed to shelter you from the unknown?
WF: I think that’s exactly what they were feeling. I’ve even had discussions with my parents about that in later years. It’s one thing to let your child play in the backyard when you can see, but I think the fear of what might happen to me was so overwhelming that it was easier for them to just limit everything completely. The truth is, though, that temptation/fear is so strong for all of us, sighted or otherwise, that we don’t seek out what’s unknown or new or different so much of the time anyway.
I wish my parents had given me more in terms of experience and exposure to things. But I’m not a child anymore and the responsibility to seek those experiences and people out is completely in my hands. When you let go of that fear of uncertainty and change, the world is a lot bigger and more beautiful.
AE: How do you think your upbringing contributed to your acceptance and interest in people with challenges to overcome?
WF: I remember being young and getting so upset watching people stare, laugh and point at my parents. Our family was refused service at a restaurant because they didn’t want the guide dogs in their place of business, I heard kids talk about them behind my back at school. I remember my father coming home completely defeated after being passed up for promotions year after year because a blind person supposedly “shouldn’t be in a management position.” I remember people half my mother’s age speaking to her like she was a child or avoiding us altogether.
Living in those experiences every day can’t help but develop a strong sense of universality in anyone who deals with injustice, regardless of the type.
AE: You are married — how do you feel about being married in a country where gay people cannot get married?
WF: I think it’s unjust and something which really doesn’t make any sense in a country so fundamentally based on freedom, liberty, and self-guidance. I’m definitely proud of the changes we’ve seen in the country in recent years, but there’s still a long way to go. I know how trite this might sound, but the longer I live, the more I think we’d all be so much better off if we focused intensely and exclusively on how to best look after each other. Narrow-mindedness can’t be overestimated as an awful force socially, emotionally, politically and creatively.
Find out more about William at williamfitzsimmons.com.