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Rugby Player Who Claims Stroke Turned Him Gay Speaks Out: VIDEO


Back in November I posted about Chris Birch, a Welsh former rugby player who claimed that after hurting his neck during practice and cutting off the blood flow to his brain, he suffered a stroke, and realized, as he recovered, that his sexual orientation had changed.

CbThe BBC has now done a documentary on Birch, who says he does not recognize himself in photos taken before his accident.

There are few known cases of a stroke turning a straight person gay, and major personality changes in stroke sufferers are rare. Even Jak Powell, Birch's fiance, believes his partner may always have been gay.

"I've still got the same opinion that it was just something that was always there," says Powell. "People grow up not knowing they are gay and have families and then they realise they are gay, but they don't have a stroke to realise that."

Yet Birch disagrees and is convinced that, neurologically, it was the stroke that altered his sense of self. The moment he realised his feelings towards men had changed was a scary period in his life.

"It was a sort of lonely time. It was a time I was afraid to tell anybody because that wasn't who I used to be, so it shouldn't be who I am now," he says.

Watch the full program while it stays up, AFTER THE JUMP...

Here's a shorter promo:

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  1. I don’t believe he went from 100% straight to gay due to a stroke. It’s possible he reassessed his priorities in the wake of a profound injury or that “filters” in his brain were altered or damaged, but to go from a 0 on the Kinsey Scale to a 6? No.

    And if his family wasn’t accepting of gays he may feel the “a stroke made me gay!” story gives him an excuse, protection from their judgement.

    What’s most interesting to me isn’t that he “became gay” but that he now embodies pretty much every gay stereotype there is.

    Posted by: Caliban | Apr 18, 2012 3:28:22 PM

  2. i've met a few people in my life who claim "similar" things - that, after whatever event, they simply woke up one day with a sudden attraction to males that hadn't existed before.

    sorry for being a right prick, but i don't buy. orientations don't just appear or reappear out of nowhere. psychologically, his "story" makes sense, in that he needed a healthscare to reprioritize (thank u, alanis).

    it's a way of absolving one's self of "responsibility" - "you think you guys are surprised that i'm gay? I'M surprised to! this just suddenly happened to me!"

    it's a way to appear innocent, a way to suggest you haven't been lying to people; a get-out-of-jail-free card.

    it's something said by a lot of guys at early stages in their coming out process - something believed by straight people, usually, because to them it makes sense. but that's not how orientations work. no switch gets flipped. "family" knows this.

    look, i'm happy enough that he's Out now. hopefully in time he'll no longer feel a need to tell this story, as I'll just be the jerk here who says it's b.s.

    the longer you live the lie, the more you guilty you feel about the deception - this isn't a new story, it's one a lot of us have said at one point and heard others say. but the longer you're out, the more confident you are, and the less you hold onto that guilt, eventually you cop to the truth.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Apr 18, 2012 3:31:21 PM

  3. Big thanks to this gentleman for doubtlessly inspiring some wacko conservative psychiatric doctor to start inducing strokes in depressed volunteer gays as a "treatment" for homosexuality.

    Ugh. This upsets me.

    Posted by: CHRISTOPHER | Apr 18, 2012 3:31:42 PM

  4. Ughhhh. Why is this still a story?!

    Its a bit suspicious that not only his sexual orientation changed, but also his mannerisms?!

    Is there a neurological etiology to being "fabulous" then? lol

    Eh, its a risky road. I don't want people to argue that homosexuality is some sort brain dysfunction.

    Nevertheless, yay another on our team <3.

    Posted by: JP | Apr 18, 2012 3:32:52 PM

  5. I saw the documentary last night and thought he was very well-spoken. The episode's ending is poignant.

    Posted by: Andreas | Apr 18, 2012 3:35:33 PM

  6. for what it's worth, the only ADULTS i know who still tell this "i was straight and then suddenly I became gay, with no previous attractions or feelings toward men" nonsense are two Mormons.

    take from that what you will. you guys here get it - it's a way to appear innocent, that homosexuality was a surprising thing that was inflicted upon you, therefore it's in everyone best interests to not punish you for it.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Apr 18, 2012 3:35:57 PM

  7. Just what is "gay" to this man? Would this even be a story were it not for the fact that he basically embodies every gay stereotype known to, well, him and everybody? No, it would not.

    This story just perpetuates the idea that "gay" is young, white, and thin. Everybody else? Well, you'll have to make your own way.

    Posted by: Nino | Apr 18, 2012 3:43:35 PM

  8. This is the stupidest thing I've heard in a while. Who would believe that tale? Maybe he could just say that his life changed after a crisis and he decided to live honestly? It even makes me wonder if he had a stroke at his age.

    Did the stroke also cause him to develop terrible hair? And this is coming from someone with dark blue hair.

    Posted by: Paul R | Apr 18, 2012 3:47:08 PM

  9. Did the stroke also do that to his hair?

    Posted by: endo | Apr 18, 2012 3:49:09 PM

  10. @ENDO:

    LOL I thought exactly the same thing

    Posted by: atomic | Apr 18, 2012 3:51:00 PM

  11. LOL....reminds me of this skit from In Living Color


    Posted by: ratbastard | Apr 18, 2012 3:53:11 PM

  12. well, this is what happens when guys tell this story to Family - we go "no, that's not right. we've lived it, and we know you're peddling B.S"

    sure, it makes sense to straight people who don't know any better. but to family? no. we know this is a lie, because it's a lie we may have told ourselves, or others at some point, and have indeed heard others say before.

    there are things gay people can say to straight people that they can't say to other gay people. why? because we know the intent and motivation behind these stories.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Apr 18, 2012 3:53:58 PM

  13. I totally believe his story because when I was 15 I stole a Playgirl mag and had a few strokes and realized I was gay. It happens!

    Posted by: Jerry | Apr 18, 2012 4:00:49 PM

  14. Why do people think that being gay means having a hideous hairsyle?

    Posted by: happyday | Apr 18, 2012 4:02:56 PM

  15. BS ...cough... BS

    now suffering an accident and reassessing things is believable

    Posted by: say what | Apr 18, 2012 4:10:54 PM

  16. @ Christopher ;

    You are right......now we are going to have reverse-strokes as a "treatment"......

    Liberace Bachman will make a fortune !

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Apr 18, 2012 4:18:41 PM

  17. Think he needed an excuse to come out as being gay!!! looks like his eyebrows are done in the "straight" picture along with the earing, total gay face.... I just want to slap him and say Idiota!!! especially with the hair... Ew!

    Posted by: JB | Apr 18, 2012 4:32:21 PM

  18. Why does anyone care if he was gay and now is straight? Does it really affect your sexuality or sense of self that much? I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt, but even if he is using the stroke as a cover to come out so be it. Why do we need to tear him down for living his life?

    Posted by: Andy | Apr 18, 2012 4:36:14 PM

  19. While its "possible" to go to the emergency room with a liter coke bottle up your hiney after "falling" on it, that doesn't make it true.

    Posted by: Michaelandfred | Apr 18, 2012 4:36:58 PM

  20. Given that I've never experienced anything like what he went through, I'm not going to make any judgments. It could have always been there in some latent way, maybe even in some way he doesn't remember, or maybe he's actually right. Who knows?

    Despite how far we've gone, we still understand so little of how our brains work.

    Hopefully, doctors will get a good chance to study him and better understand him, and see how what his stroke did to his brain could impact orientation in relation to everyone else we know about it (ie hormones in a mother's womb, etc.).

    Posted by: Ryan | Apr 18, 2012 4:41:10 PM

  21. "The BBC has now done a documentary on Birch, who says he does not recognize himself in photos taken before his accident."

    And yet he CAN remember that he his sexual orientation changed. Yeah, I believe it.

    *rolls eyes*

    Posted by: Marc C | Apr 18, 2012 4:51:18 PM

  22. While the scientific community is still uncertain about the variance of human sexuality, we have some experts here on tolweroad.

    Posted by: Malaysian Ho | Apr 18, 2012 4:52:48 PM

  23. No no no, the stroke turned him from a butch to a nelly.

    Posted by: George | Apr 18, 2012 4:58:58 PM

  24. There are certainly cases of individuals suffering some form of brain damage, such as a stroke, and experiencing radical changes in personality. A well documented case is of a women who went from average suburbanite into an art producing machine after suffering some brain damage. Prior to the incident she was a rather ordinary everyday woman, afterwards she claims she felt a huge wave of creativity that compelled her to constantly create large volumes of art where as before she was not particularly creative.

    While I, like many on the board, are dubious about someone's sexual orientation flipping like a light switch. Until we better understand the brain's biology and the source of sexual orientation I cannot discount that this man is telling the truth.

    Posted by: badlydrawnbear | Apr 18, 2012 5:27:23 PM

  25. There's a lot of political reasons to want to call this guy a liar, but orientation does lie in the body somewhere, and it's so far quite plausible that a stroke could change it.

    Posted by: Randy | Apr 18, 2012 5:32:36 PM

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