Feature

Did a stroke really turn a straight man gay?

Chris Birch, a banker and rugby enthusiast, was all set to marry his girlfriend. But after a freak accident, he suddenly found himself attracted to men

Chris Birch was a macho, heterosexual, rugby-loving jock who was engaged to his girlfriend. Then one day, he woke up in a hospital, and the 26-year-old from South Wales found that he had undergone a radical change. "I was definitely gay," he says. A guide to this strange case:

What happened?
Birch was doing backflips in front of his buddies. While trying to impress them, "he fell down a grass bank," says Britain's Daily Mail, "breaking his neck and suffering a stroke." Birch was rushed to the hospital and spent several days in a coma, surrounded by his concerned fiancée and family.

And he woke up sexually attracted to men?
So he says. While watching TV during the recovery process, Birch says he found himself drawn to a handsome actor on screen. "I felt my stomach flutter, and the same feelings I used to have for pretty girls came across me," he says. "I had never felt like that about a man, but I knew immediately what the feeling was." 

Is this really possible?
This isn't the first time someone has woken up after a stroke to discover something radically different about themselves. Two years ago, a British man woke after a stroke to find himself a very capable painter, says the Daily Mail, despite "no previous evidence of the skill." To help make sense of his situation, Birch sought out the help of a neurologist, who explained that the stroke likely played a role in "opening up" a part of his brain he was previously unaware of, says Jonathan Higbee at Instinct

So what is Birch doing now?
He stopped hanging out with his old friends, broke up with his fiancée, adopted a healthier lifestyle, and quit his job as a banker. "Suddenly, I hated everything about my old life," he says. "I didn't get on with my friends, hated sport, and found my job boring." He now works as a hairdresser and lives with his 19-year-old boyfriend.

Sources: Daily MailHuffington PostInstinct

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