Rugby player 'woke up gay' after stroke


A Welsh rugby player who suffered a stroke ditched his fiancee after claiming he woke up gay.

Chris Birch (26), has since slimmed down from 19 stone to a lithe 11 stone, retrained as a hairdresser and moved in with a teenage boyfriend.

He now works at J’s Hair Salon in Ystrad Mynach, south Wales, after giving up his job in a bank.

He was injured during a rugby training session when he attempted a back flip, broke his neck and suffered a stroke.

His parents and girlfriend endured an anxious bedside vigil waiting to discover whether he would recover.

The man who eventually emerged was different in almost every way and found he hated sport and was no longer interested in women. Plans to get married and settle down were dropped as he embarked on a new life as a gay man.

“I was gay when I woke up and I still am,” Mr Birch said today, speaking from J’s Hair Salon.

He has also detailed the life-changing impact of his stroke in a series of newspapers.

“It sounds strange but when I came round I immediately felt different. I wasn’t interested in women any more,” he is reported as saying.

“I had never been attracted to a man before - I’d never even had any gay friends. But I didn’t care about who I was before, I had to be true to my feelings.

“Suddenly I hated everything about my old life. I didn’t get on with my friends, I hated sport and found my job boring.

“I started to take more pride in my appearance, bleached my hair and started working out. I went from a 19-stone skinhead to an 11-stone preened man.”

Former Wales fullback Gareth Thomas came out as gay in December 2009.