I need you to understand that headline.
“Having a gay stroke” isn’t British slang for hooking up with a guy, at least not here. I’m talking about a literal gay stroke, wherein you rapidly lose brain function due to a disturbance in the blood supply and when you come out of it you’re a homosexual. That’s what happened with Rugby player Chris Birch (pictured above, left) when he pulled an Afro Ninja.
Chris Birch, 26, told the UK’s Daily Mail that after he awoke from a stroke he suffered after trying to do a flip at the gym (and failing, and breaking his neck): “It sounds strange but when I came round I immediately felt different.”
“I wasn’t interested in women any more. I was definitely gay.”
“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.”
Of all the sports blogs in the world, With Leather is the one I’d least like to see be homophobic or fill itself up with antiquated notions of what makes a “real man”. And who the hell knows how the human brain works? People can a stroke and wake up without the ability to speak, or think straight. They can get shot in the brain and end up communicating with Ritz Crackers. Knowing that who you love and what you find attractive is essentially a function of the brain, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that if your brain is moving, that function could get switched in the move. The paragraph where he makes sure to explain how before the stroke he had never been attracted to men and didn’t know any gay people is concerning in its inclusion, but whatever, if this version of Chris is happy then we should be happy for him, right?
And then you read a little more, and it sounds a lot like this guy backflipped onto his head and used it as a really badly-timed excuse to come out without being judged.
“I started to take more pride in my appearance, bleached my hair and started working out. I went from a 19st skinhead, to an 11st preened man.”
Seems like he’s got those classifications ready to go, doesn’t it?
Sometime after that he went to the Daily Mail UK and posed for photos holding a hair dryer, because the notion that wanting to have sex with a man makes you disinterested in sports and super into hairdressing isn’t the most stereotypically new-money thing you can do. I’ve got an itch that makes me resistant and unsure of anyone who tries so hard to be a stereotype of ANYTHING, so here’s the most reasonable way I can conclude — no matter who Chris is and no matter how this happened or why, I hope that he can find what he’s looking for and, eventually, stop feeling like he’s got to keep proving what he is.