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Chris Birch, Welsh Man Who Claims Stroke 'Turned Him Gay,' Featured In New BBC Documentary

Posted: 04/19/2012 12:13 pm Updated: 04/19/2012 12:20 pm

Chris Birch

Chris Birch, the British man who claims to have "woken up gay" after suffering a stroke, is back in the headlines after becoming the subject of a much-anticipated BBC documentary.

Simply titled "I Woke Up Gay," the new film explores the 27-year-old Birch's "new" life as a proud gay man. In one scene, the South Wales native -- now a hairdresser and has changed his name to "Kris" -- is shown "confronting" his former rugby-playing heterosexual self as seen in a series of snapshots.

"I'm convinced more than ever looking at these photos that the stroke did turn me gay, because there is no way that I was gay before," he told the BBC. "I have photos as proof and I have friends as proof and now I have memories as proof."

In another sequence, Birch reportedly takes part in a series of computer-based tests by Dr Qazi Rahman, an expert in human sexual orientation, of Queen Mary, University of London, to find out if he had been "born gay," according to the International Business Times. Interestingly, Rahman suggests Birch's homosexual feelings may have lain dormant, but been brought to the surface by the stroke. "The bulk of the evidence in the biological sciences, in genetics and psychology, suggest that sexuality is something you are born with and develops later on through life," he is quoted as saying.

The documentary itself, which aired this week in the U.K., has thus far received tepid reviews. Wrote Isabel Mohan in The Telegraph: "The crux of the documentary was whether Birch truly 'woke up gay' –- was it really a transformation, as he insists, or merely a realisation of something that had been dormant within him his whole life?" Still, Mohan concludes, "It was an extremely uplifting hour of TV because, despite everything he’s been through, Birch absolutely loves his new life."

Birch's story caused a viral media sensation last fall, with many casting doubt on his claims. He says he was injured during a freak gym accident and suffered a stroke as a result, but as he was recovering in the hospital, he found that his sexual orientation had completely changed. "I was gay when I woke up and I still am," he told the Daily Mail at the time. "It sounds strange but when I came round I immediately felt different. I wasn’t interested in women any more. I was definitely gay."

While others continue to shrug at his story, Birch -- who now lives with his fiancé, Jak -- says he wouldn't return to his former heterosexual self for a minute, telling the BBC: "I'm happier now than I ever have been, why would I want to change?"

Take a look at celebrities who've come out as LGBT below:

Jonathan Knight, 2011
1  of  26
The New Kids On The Block singer was out-ed by fellow '80s teen pop star Tiffany in January 2011 when she revealed she dated Knight before "he became gay later."

In response, Knight posted a message on his website stating in part:
"I have never been outed by anyone but myself! I did so almost twenty years ago. I never know that I would have to do it all over again publicly just because I reunited with NKOTB! I have lived my life very openly and have never hidden the fact that I am gay!"

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Filed by Curtis M. Wong  |