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I woke up gay.
April 18, 2012 10:53 AM   Subscribe

I Woke Up Gay (SLYT): In the small town of Ystrad Mynach, South Wales, seven years ago, a 19-stone rugby-playing ladies man and bank clerk Chris Birch snapped his neck while larking around doing somersaults and backflips with his friends. As the tabloids excitedly revealed a while ago, he suffered a massive stroke and woke up as a completely different person -- a person who happened to be gay.

The link is for the full 53-minute documentary aired on BBC Three last night. Gawker has additional links and comments.
posted by gertzedek (105 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
From the Gawker link:
There is reason for disbelief in this specific case.(...) Birch, we learn, was also in a play before his stroke. When his ex-girlfriend shows him a picture of their theater troupe, he says, "I only did that because I fancied you at the time," which is the kind of rationalization a closeted dude would invent.

What.
posted by Acheman at 11:02 AM on April 18, 2012 [16 favorites]


So his stroke was so bad it killed his fashion sense?
posted by The Whelk at 11:04 AM on April 18, 2012 [8 favorites]


This isn't a double? I know I heard about this a long time ago.
posted by djduckie at 11:05 AM on April 18, 2012


Serious question: Is it possible that after his stroke he forgot that he was closeted? Or that the stroke was a convenient excuse to come out to his friends and family? I don't know how tolerant the small town of Ystrad Mynarch is.
posted by alby at 11:08 AM on April 18, 2012 [12 favorites]


I have a friend whose daughter was severely beaten, who suffered serious brain damage and had to learn to do every day things again.

She was reportedly interested in men before the episode, interested in women afterward.
posted by weston at 11:08 AM on April 18, 2012


I think a more nuanced argument is that it doesn't even matter if it is a choice because your sexuality is only the business of the people you fuck.

...and the article and documentary should have ended right there.

This is, of course, all very fascinating from a neurological and scentific perspective. However, from a sociological perspective, there's really not a whole lot to this story, and it's weird that they framed the documentary that way...
posted by schmod at 11:09 AM on April 18, 2012 [14 favorites]


Brains are weird. The parts of brains that govern sexual attraction are probably even weirder.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:09 AM on April 18, 2012 [18 favorites]


Trauma inducing a re-wiring of the brain? Interesting... I guess the trauma in question would have to be near, connect to, or within the centers governing attraction.

Also: all I can picture now is someone punching the Windows out of their PC to allow for the latent Linux code to assert dominance.
posted by Slackermagee at 11:14 AM on April 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


So did the documentary discuss what areas of his brain were damaged by the stroke? I mean it would be fascinating to learn that he was probably always gay but that a portion of his brain that handles concepts like shame were damaged and that he now feel more free to express his actual sexual preference rather than the one imposed upon him by society and family.

Instead it seemed to be focused more on the idea that there might be some switch that could get damaged and suddenly viola you are gay. This of course has the not so hidden subtext that maybe everyone that is gay is in someway damaged.
posted by vuron at 11:14 AM on April 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Birch, we learn, was also in a play before his stroke. When his ex-girlfriend shows him a picture of their theater troupe, he says, "I only did that because I fancied you at the time," [.......] It's hard to buy the acting thing as mere coincidence.


This just in. All actors are gay, or closeted gays.

Or is it that all gays are actors?
posted by Malice at 11:15 AM on April 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


For about 10 minutes each morning I wake up gay for my espresso machine.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:16 AM on April 18, 2012 [19 favorites]


(I know this because its name is Hal).
posted by jimmythefish at 11:17 AM on April 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


and suddenly viola you are gay

The digs at violists just never stop, do they?
posted by yoink at 11:18 AM on April 18, 2012 [109 favorites]


Honestly it seems a lot more likely to me that his brain damage altered his sexuality than that the brain damage removed just enough of his sense of shame to make him come out of the closet, but left enough of it in place that he'd refuse to admit he was closeted in the first place. Because seriously, that's an extremely targeted strike.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:18 AM on April 18, 2012 [17 favorites]


BBC Three, will you ever disappoint us?
posted by Jehan at 11:24 AM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


If this is true, then it's only a matter of time now before conservatives in the US begin trying to pray away rugby and strokes.

(Such a Jerry Springer-esque story filtered through The Daily Mail and Gawker? Gospel, the lot of it, I'm sure.)
posted by octobersurprise at 11:24 AM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can we also talk about the fact that he lost many of his memories, lost 110 pounds, and developed an entirely new personality?

Those things seem to strike me as being somewhat more important and relevant than the whole gay thing.

My take would be that the accident pushed him from a 2 to a 4 on the Kinsey scale, and the memory loss and visibly-obvious horomonal/neurochemical changes that were likely triggered by the accident (almost nobody can just lose 100+ pounds like that) sealed the deal.

Now, as for why he turned into a walking stereotype, I have absolutely no clue...

As infinitywaltz so succinctly said above: "Brains are weird." Amen to that.
posted by schmod at 11:25 AM on April 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


....Although it's an extremely different kind of preference, I've heard Richard Hammond report that before his massive car crash in 2006, he didn't like celery. But after he recovered from the crash, he did like it.

So, I guess if brain trauma can change one's taste in vegetable preference, I guess brain trauma changing sexual preference is at least somewhat plausible?....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:25 AM on April 18, 2012


Head injuries (very) typically result in disinhibited behaviour. For example, a person may become violent when previously they were able to control their temper, or may become a flasher when previously they kept themselves zipped up. So it's by no means inconceivable that a person who had suppressed urges towards the same sex would be disinhibited about them following a head injury.
posted by unSane at 11:26 AM on April 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


Just wait until Daffyd finds out about him.
posted by greatgefilte at 11:27 AM on April 18, 2012 [22 favorites]


Ok, so if I suffer a trauma that rewires my brain I might love broccoli but not want my husband any more? The bizarre thing about this story, for me, is sitting here trying to imagine enjoying the taste of broccoli, and realizing how after my brain is rewired I won't remember NOT liking broccoli. Or would I? If I got a whole new broccoli loving personality, would it just become the new me, or would it be like a new pair of pants - a bit weird at first, but eventually comfortable?
posted by routergirl at 11:29 AM on April 18, 2012


His haircut seems to have gotten worse since the story first emerged, which is certainly a surprise to me.
posted by robself at 11:30 AM on April 18, 2012


I would totally be in a play to impress a woman. Damn, I'm gay?
posted by cjorgensen at 11:32 AM on April 18, 2012


The equality debate is always going to be difficult if we insist on making it about anything other than equality. This guy's story, fascinating as it may be, is a big ole red herring that has NOTHING to do with whether all humans should receive the same treatment under the law.

I mean, I get that "it's not a choice" is a powerful argument for people to hear, but it's a fundamentally different argument than "equality for all, please" and it sucks that the two get mashed together so often.

This documentary isn't helping.
posted by Doleful Creature at 11:33 AM on April 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


clearly, he's stumbled upon the next new weight loss craze.
posted by The Whelk at 11:35 AM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Brains are weird. The parts of brains that govern sexual attraction are probably even weirder.

The fellow who wrote up an explanation of faceblindness uses a system of identifying jeans, beards, and head hair to figure out who he's talking to. This ties into his sexuality; his partner is a fellow who wears jeans, has a beard, and long hair.
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:37 AM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


...Holy crap, there actually may be an explanation for why Richard Hammond liked celery post-crash.

...Brains are weird, and so are Google searches.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:38 AM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I would totally be in a play to impress a woman. Damn, I'm gay?"

Haven't most people done way dumber things than that to impress someone they fancy?

Conclusion: we're all gay.
posted by oddman at 11:38 AM on April 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


This makes me speculate about a future in which we figure out how to flip some of these (hypothetical) switches, and doctors will be able to perform "straight to gay", "gay to straight" and other sexual orientation operations, like someone undergoing a FTM or MTF sex change. My head hurts thinking of the thorny implications... laws forcing pedophiles to undergo brain operations to be cured, for just one example.
posted by naju at 11:39 AM on April 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm going with the law of parsimony on this one and say he already was gay, at least to some extent on the continuum of sexuality, before the accident and he wasn't admitting to it either consciously or unconsciously.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 11:40 AM on April 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


I mean, I get that "it's not a choice" is a powerful argument for people to hear, but it's a fundamentally different argument than "equality for all, please" and it sucks that the two get mashed together so often.

The difference is that conditions that a person cannot avoid are afforded special consideration in "equality" legislation. If being gay is a choice then plenty of people still will support gay marriage or whatever issue you like, but the argument is less strong to others because now it's just one more rule that you have to follow like anybody else rather than a strike against your natural state of being.
posted by Winnemac at 11:45 AM on April 18, 2012


Phineas Gage was an asshole after his brain injury — Oliver Sachs writes a lot about personality changes after brain injury, and they're almost always disinhibitors. That'd be my guess too.
posted by klangklangston at 11:46 AM on April 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


I have brain cancer. My sexuality hasn't changed, but my food tastes have. I never particularly liked fruit but now I love it. Makes sense to me that when different areas of your brain are changed by injury of any type it could cause a variety of behavioral changes, including those in the area of sexuality. This seems to me to reinforce the conclusion that sexual orientation is biological.
posted by miss tea at 11:47 AM on April 18, 2012 [15 favorites]


Wait. How far is Ystrad Mynach from the Cardiff Rift?
posted by octobersurprise at 11:48 AM on April 18, 2012 [8 favorites]


The part that bothers me about this is that someone could read the article and think that gay = brain damaged.
posted by onhazier at 11:51 AM on April 18, 2012


Serious question: Is it possible that after his stroke he forgot that he was closeted? Or that the stroke was a convenient excuse to come out to his friends and family? I don't know how tolerant the small town of Ystrad Mynarch is.

If it's anything like Llanddewi Brefi...
posted by Sys Rq at 11:51 AM on April 18, 2012


If it was simply disinhibition, he would've known for sure he was gay any time he got drunk - I mean pissed. Alcohol causes disinhibition throughout the brain and is the reason why all your faculties gradually grind down 'till your an emotional, slobbering, blubbering idiot the more you drink.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 11:54 AM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


The potential degree of disinhibition from TBI is vastly greater than (for most people) that from drinking. Although considering the things you see rugby teams get up to during a night on the town, you might be making my point for me.
posted by unSane at 12:06 PM on April 18, 2012


The part that bothers me about this is that someone could read the article and think that gay = brain damaged.

Considering how brain-damaged you'd have to be to think that, I'm not particularly worried about these people.

[NOT BRAIN-DAMAGED-IST]
posted by hermitosis at 12:09 PM on April 18, 2012


Nonsense. He CHOSE to be gay. Or chose to have a stroke. Or something.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:14 PM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


No doubt alcohol isn't the same thing, and I'm not saying it wasn't disinhibition but I rather do think it may have something to do with it. What I'm saying is that he already was gay (in some capacity), not admitting to it (in some capacity), and that it was not some kind of TA-DA: GAY! magic brain act.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 12:15 PM on April 18, 2012


i'm super glad i got to be gay without snapping my neck.
posted by anya32 at 12:17 PM on April 18, 2012 [34 favorites]


I found that during and for about 6 months to a year after a prolonged course of heavy duty cortical steroids (note these are not the anabolic steroids of the weightlifting and sports world - these are the ones that make you fat and let you continue breathing during respiratory ailments) I would just rage randomly. Before that I was an extremely calm person. Almost pathologically calm according to some women I dated. Now more than 10 years I still think there is still some remnants of those changes. Or maybe I am just a crotchety old man.

The human body is strange thing.
posted by srboisvert at 12:19 PM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's really interesting to see what people would prefer to believe about this, in absence of any actual proof.

Magic brain acts happen all the time. We hear about more of them now because we hear about more of EVERYTHING now.
posted by hermitosis at 12:19 PM on April 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Closeted people do not necessarily know that they are closeted.
posted by LogicalDash at 12:30 PM on April 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


If we lived in a society where you could take a pill to re-orient your sexuality in either direction, and no one called it a cure, how many of us would take it? Would more homosexuals or heterosexuals take it?
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:31 PM on April 18, 2012


Well, Occam had a say about simplicity and that has been the basis for good science for a long time. There are many existing explanations for many of what people think are magic brain acts, but if someone is telling me there's this new a magic gay switch you can jigger then I want to see the proof before I deviate from what is be the simplest answer.

By the way, does this remind anybody else of the film I Love You Phillip Morris? Great movie by the way.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 12:31 PM on April 18, 2012


how many of us would take it?

Double my chances of a date on Friday night? Where do I sign?
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 12:32 PM on April 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


how many of us would take it?

Could you take it as many times as you wanted? Could you calibrate your Kinsey score to match the whims of the moment? Because if such a thing existed, I'd have spent my late teens and early twenties at the very bottom of a bottle of that shit, joyfully dwelling in my own private Samuel R. Delaney novel.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 12:38 PM on April 18, 2012 [8 favorites]


Birch, we learn, was also in a play before his stroke. When his ex-girlfriend shows him a picture of their theater troupe, he says, "I only did that because I fancied you at the time," which is the kind of rationalization a closeted dude would invent.

Oh, for fuck's sake. I've always been open to the idea of sleeping with men, even as a young teen, as I was a child of the 80s and where I grew up/how I was raised, being gay wasn't particularly stigmatized, probably less so than what you wore or what you did to your hair. And you know the one thing keeping me from sleeping with men? I can't get past the fact that I'm not attracted to guys. Any of 'em. Turns out that's a dealbreaker.

And so I happily go on with my life, spending 20+ years so far sleeping with women (and happily so.) But I have been in plays! And I've dressed like a woman in plays! In fact, I finally got fed up with theater when, in a college class scene (playing an aged drag queen) a surprisingly large number of the anonymous, written-on-paper feedback notes received from the class said it was unfair that this performance should count, because I was a gay man playing a gay man. Pathetic.

Oh, and:

Honestly it seems a lot more likely to me that his brain damage altered his sexuality than that the brain damage removed just enough of his sense of shame to make him come out of the closet, but left enough of it in place that he'd refuse to admit he was closeted in the first place. Because seriously, that's an extremely targeted strike.

Somehow, I feel like "remov[ing] just enough of his sense of shame to make him come out of the closet, but [leaving] enough of it in place that he'd refuse to admit he was closeted in the first place" seems like a much more targeted strike.

The brain is an amazing thing, and history is littered with people whose personalities and preferences strongly changed in significant ways from severe head trauma. We are who we are because of what's going on in our brains, after all.
posted by davejay at 12:39 PM on April 18, 2012


"If we lived in a society where you could take a pill to re-orient your sexuality in either direction, and no one called it a cure, how many of us would take it? Would more homosexuals or heterosexuals take it?"

Could you take the pill multiple times? Or choose to be equally attracted to both genders? Because it might just be interesting from a see how other people experience their sexuality perspective.

But the unfortunate thing is that if it was a permanent choice/cure/solution then how many parents would go ahead and make that decision for their children? How many would choose to change who they are just because family and friends expect you too?
posted by vuron at 12:41 PM on April 18, 2012


Somehow, I feel like "remov[ing] just enough of his sense of shame to make him come out of the closet, but [leaving] enough of it in place that he'd refuse to admit he was closeted in the first place" seems like a much more targeted strike.

That's what I meant. Maybe it came out unclear.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:46 PM on April 18, 2012


Forget acting, man, look at the rugby! True story: In the '90's I used to busk with the saxophone in Dublin. Rugby international nights were best. One night, Ireland had just beaten England so everyone was pissed and happy. At midnight, I had a large circle of English rugby fans dancing in a circle in Grafton street, with their pants down, grabbing each other's willies, to the amusement of a large crowd.

More seriously, why do people talk about sexuality as if it were one dimensional, from gay to straight. Seriously, mine is 47-dimensional at least, and Mr Kinsey didn't even begin to catalogue that.
posted by stonepharisee at 12:48 PM on April 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


This story disturbs me and I'm not entirely sure why. It's not that he's gay now but the fact that his personality entirely changed. It freaks me out slightly that our personalities are so tenuous that they can change completely after an accident like this.
posted by timsneezed at 12:49 PM on April 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Maybe the 53-minute video explains everything (and maybe I should watch the FPP video before commenting), but one thing that's bothered me about many of the articles is the extent to which no one seems to be questioning these gender performance stereotypes.

So, we know the guy was originally straight because he was a macho rugby player. But post-stroke, we know that he's gay because he's a hairdresser.

How do we challenge his straightness pre-stroke? Well, there was that one THEATER TROUPE he was in...that must prove that he was less than 100% straight!!!

...Is this really how we operate in 2012?

p.s., to stonepharisee: 47 dimensions? What the hell kind of school do you go to?
posted by subversiveasset at 12:51 PM on April 18, 2012 [4 favorites]



So, we know the guy was originally straight because he was a macho rugby player.

There is a running joke that in the US at least, Rugby is only played by beefy homosexualists.
posted by The Whelk at 12:57 PM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


If we lived in a society where you could take a pill to re-orient your sexuality in either direction

And once again there's nothing for the bisexuals/pansexuals. FUCK IT WE SHOULD AT LEAST GET DELICIOUS CAKE.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:57 PM on April 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


Yeah, I was all "A beefy rugby-playing bank clerk? Sounds queerer than Dick's hatband to me!" but most of the rugby players I know personally are also Radical Faeries. This is another one of those biscuit v. biscuit things, isn't it?
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:58 PM on April 18, 2012


19-stone

CAN WE ALL JUST AGREE ON THE METRIC SYSTEM FFS
posted by desjardins at 1:01 PM on April 18, 2012 [8 favorites]


The difference is that conditions that a person cannot avoid are afforded special consideration in "equality" legislation.

That certainly makes sense, but doesn't it kind of suck that this has to be a thing at all? Special consideration needed specifically because of massive institutional bias. I guess it's just wishful thinking on my part, but I feel like society should be grown up enough to recognize that it doesn't matter how or why someone is gay, it only matters that they're given equal rights.



It's really interesting to see what people would prefer to believe about this, in absence of any actual proof.

Remember that cheerleader a few years back who supposedly got a flu shot and then could only walk backwards or run but if she tried to walk normally she shook violently and couldn't talk? And everyone was like "fake!" and others were like "the brain is strange and magical so..." and then she was "cured" through alternative medicine but acquired an Australian accent (the inability to pronounce words as she called it) and pretty everyone now believes she was jerking our chains.

So you can see why we might be skeptical...


...Is this really how we operate in 2012?

Yes this kind of drives me crazy too. I think it's just ingrained. Even my gay friends refer to their own childhood like "I knew I was gay because I like playing with dolls more than with footballs", which I'm sure was true but it should be largely irrelevant. My 3-year-old absolutely LOVES to pretend he's cooking. He has a full toy cooking set (pink) and puts on cooking shows for us. Sometimes family/friends will joke "you're son's gonna be gay ha ha" and I just want to scream at them an entire shipyard of righteous responses but then Mrs. Creature gives me that look and I slip out the back to pound my head against the retaining wall for an hour.

Maybe he's gay, maybe he isn't, doesn't really matter to me as long as he's happy and confident and not a bully.
posted by Doleful Creature at 1:07 PM on April 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


If we lived in a society where you could take a pill to re-orient your sexuality in either direction, and no one called it a cure, how many of us would take it?

I predict a lot of spiked drinks.
posted by desjardins at 1:09 PM on April 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Phineas Gage was an asshole after his brain injury

I read somewhere that this mainly comes from an account from very soon after the accident, and after a couple of years he was more or less back to his old self.

I mean, if I had a giant steel rod driven through my fucking skull and lost an eye in the process, I might be kind of a jerk for a while, too.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:12 PM on April 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's not that he's gay now but the fact that his personality entirely changed.

We're being told that his personality entirely changed. The macho-rugby-player-turned-flaming-hairdresser narrative confirms just too many stereotypes for me to believe that we're getting the whole truth here.

But if that story is true to some degree, than a simpler explanation may be that he's just doing what a lot of people do when they come out (or convert to a religion, or join an organization, for that matter). He's living like a stereotype because that's what he thinks being gay means.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:15 PM on April 18, 2012


You do know this is the same network that brought us "Teen Hooked on Porn" and "Addicted to Boob Jobs", right? This is not some kind of scientific treatise. It's meant to be pandering and sensationalistic, right down to the Gotye and Bon Iver on the soundtrack.
posted by FreezBoy at 1:22 PM on April 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Metafilter- Everyone was pissed and happy.
posted by Bernt Pancreas at 1:34 PM on April 18, 2012


Does this take place in a town where they're a bit regressive and like their pub games? In other words, is Ystrad is a dartsy, backward place?
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:35 PM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Whelk: " Rugby is only played by beefy homosexualists."

Wishful thinking?
posted by schmod at 1:39 PM on April 18, 2012


Wishful thinking?

At least here in DC, I am not aware of a "straight" rugby league.
posted by psoas at 1:42 PM on April 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


>> 19-stone

> CAN WE ALL JUST AGREE ON THE METRIC SYSTEM FFS


19 stone = 123 newtons
posted by Sys Rq at 1:48 PM on April 18, 2012


Wait...no. 19 stone = 1183 newtons

CLOSE ENOUGH
posted by Sys Rq at 1:50 PM on April 18, 2012


I just learned of the phrase vortex bisexuals and now I'm imagining sexually progressive spaceship crews.
posted by The Whelk at 1:55 PM on April 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


You're bound to be big if you eat that many cookies.
posted by InfidelZombie at 1:55 PM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Birch, please!
posted by kirkaracha at 1:57 PM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


19 stone = 1183 newtons

According to Wolfram Alpha, it's also 8.3 slugs-force.
posted by desjardins at 2:11 PM on April 18, 2012


You're bound to be big if you eat that many cookies.

Please. A cookie is just a cookie, but a newton is fruit and cake and an underutilized unit of measurement for pedantic weirdos who refuse to conflate force with mass. Also some engineers use them sometimes.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:16 PM on April 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I mean, if I had a giant steel rod driven through my fucking skull and lost an eye in the process, I might be kind of a jerk for a while, too.

Just by vicarious knowledge of pirates like Captain Hook, losing an eye very well might make you an asshole.

But it wouldn't be random or temporary if a railroad spike driven through your skull, and taking with it a significant portion of your executive processing center, would make you a huge asshole. Especially if it's the prefrontal cortex, which is what Phineas Gage damaged, because that area is involved in planning, reasoning, judgment and more specifically involved in personality and emotion by contributing to the assessment and control of appropriate social behaviors.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 2:18 PM on April 18, 2012


"If we lived in a society where you could take a pill to re-orient your sexuality in either direction, and no one called it a cure, how many of us would take it? Would more homosexuals or heterosexuals take it?"

...if it was a permanent choice/cure/solution then how many parents would go ahead and make that decision for their children? How many would choose to change who they are just because family and friends expect you too?


If straightening teeth is a comparable example, I would guess virtually all parents who could afford it would 'straighten' their children.
posted by Dragonness at 2:24 PM on April 18, 2012


What a boring society that would be.
posted by desjardins at 2:48 PM on April 18, 2012


Sexual preference? Complicated? Indeed. Humans have 4-equidistant sexuality points each rotating through the other 3-corner sexuality points, thus creating 16 sexuality corners and 4-simultaneous sexualities within a single sexual preference cube; so almost nothing about sexual preference surprises me anymore.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 3:10 PM on April 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


If straightening teeth is a comparable example, I would guess virtually all parents who could afford it would 'straighten' their children.

Well, not in Britain
posted by dng at 3:21 PM on April 18, 2012


The part that bothers me about this is that someone could read the article and think that gay = brain damaged.

The part that bothers me about this is that someone could read the article and think that clobbering their children over the heads will magically turn them straight AMIRITE.
posted by jimmythefish at 3:32 PM on April 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


The difference is that conditions that a person cannot avoid are afforded special consideration in "equality" legislation

I understand this perspective. But biological arguments lead to arguments about people being fundamentally, biologically inferior. That's why the legislation is necessary.

Thinking that proving there's a genetic basis somehow protects people is giving most assholes too much credit.

Ask women and people who are not "white" how far that biological determinism has gotten us.

And, on a more minor note --- who's to say that our actions, environments, and social constructions don't change our biologies? As a woman who's had both a wife and now a husband, I happen to enjoy wondering what my body will do, want, crave next.

I find this guy's experience fascinating. But I don't give a shit whether or not he was "really" gay or straight before the injury.

We've all been conditioned to believe its important to find one true self that doesn't change over time, and that makes us predictable to other people. Young people believe its a destination and that other people are blocking it somehow. If only i could be my true self! Actually, you are who you are right now, and that's about it. And people have a right to be unpredictable.
posted by vitabellosi at 3:33 PM on April 18, 2012


4-equidistant sexuality points each rotating through the other 3-corner sexuality points, thus creating 16 sexuality corners and 4-simultaneous sexualities within a single sexual preference cube

It sounds complicated, but the main determining factor is the number of backs per side.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:36 PM on April 18, 2012


Sadly, when he woke up he was still Welsh.


Hey just kidding. The Welsh are awesome.
posted by w0mbat at 4:10 PM on April 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


And people have a right to be unpredictable.

That idea may sound quaint, until you have direct experience with someone who has severe: psychosis, personality disorder, psychopathy, or drug problems
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 4:20 PM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sadly, when he woke up he was still Welsh.

But did he still sound Welsh?
posted by Sys Rq at 4:59 PM on April 18, 2012


Why has no one considered the hill being responsible for changing his sexuality? Maybe the stroke is a red herring? Or maybe it's a Fred Flintstone-like thing, and he has to roll down the hill again to change back, if he so chose to.

Of course, that's silly, but no sillier than that whole 'acting in a play = secretly gay' thing trotted about.
posted by chambers at 5:57 PM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Aye, the many stories surrounding Ol' Homosexual Hill. They say Jack and Jill went up it and came down as Just Friends.
posted by The Whelk at 5:59 PM on April 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


I just checked, and there is actually one case report in PubMed of stroke causing the opposite change in orientation, from homosexual to heterosexual. The authors do describe a change in personality but frustratingly, it's not really spelled out in the article except for a newfound preoccupation with photography (which doesn't seem particularly masculine or effeminate). The subject there was a 53-year-old out gay man and he was not particularly happy about the change, so that story doesn't seem to have been about disinhibition.
posted by en forme de poire at 6:01 PM on April 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


If it was simply disinhibition, he would've known for sure he was gay any time he got drunk - I mean pissed.

As the old joke goes (told mostly between gay men):

What's the difference between gay and straight? A six pack and a joint.

There is a running joke that in the US at least, Rugby is only played by beefy homosexualists.

Previous post to the blue about gay rugby players.
posted by hippybear at 6:09 PM on April 18, 2012


re: being in plays to impress women. You read that a lot (and I mean a LOT) in interviews with famous actors about how/why they started out in the business--they took a drama class or auditioned for a play because there were lots of girls involved, or a particular girl they wanted to impress/spend time with. I don't know if it's some weird double-bluff on the part of straight actors explaining that, yeah, they're in a profession that has a lot of gays, but they went into it for VERY STRAIGHT REASONS, or if it's just true. Going back to Occam, I think it's probably true. Lots of girls are into being in the school plays and musicals and drama clubs in high school and college, so it seems like a good place to get female attention.
posted by tzikeh at 8:13 PM on April 18, 2012


Cynthia Nixon approves this post.
posted by yellowcandy at 8:56 PM on April 18, 2012


"His haircut seems to have gotten worse since the story first emerged, which is certainly a surprise to me."

He's styling it to fall across that eye to cover the drooping eyelid from the stroke.

I've not read the tabloid coverage but I found the BBC documentary to be very sympathetic to Chris Birch, his partner and colleagues, allowing him access to research that would not otherwise have been available to him. It's a complicated story and I feel for both him and his fiancé, Jak (who worries that Birch might switch back to being straight at some point in the future).
posted by humph at 2:01 AM on April 19, 2012


Sadly, when he woke up he was still Welsh.

Was this your cottage sir?
posted by hardcode at 2:38 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


The part that bothers me about this is that someone could read the article and think that clobbering their children over the heads will magically turn them straight AMIRITE.

it apparently worked when they did it to santorum.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 7:39 AM on April 19, 2012



Sadly, when he woke up he was still Welsh.

Was this your cottage sir?


Google fails to answer: Huh?
posted by endless_forms at 12:11 PM on April 19, 2012


Sadly when he woke up he was still Welsh
Some people think casual bigotry is funny.
Was this your cottage sir?
There was a Welsh nationalist group called Meibion Glyndwr who used to burn down (usually English-owned) holiday cottages. Now that was funny.
posted by fullerine at 12:44 PM on April 19, 2012


fullerine, I grew up a spit away from Ystrad Mynach and vividly remember Meibion Glyndŵr activities - they were far from funny*.

* Rich English gits coming in and buying up properties, swanning around them for a week or two each year, contributing nothing to the local economy was also very unfunny but destruction and violence was not the answer (whoever was behind it).
posted by humph at 1:18 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


As the old joke goes (told mostly between gay men):

What's the difference between gay and straight? A six pack and a joint.


Yes, and it will never, ever get stale because there will never, ever be anything that isn't absolutely hilarious about rape. The only thing that might improve that joke is if it were about a straight man and an unwilling woman. Comedy gold! But then again, you wouldn't get the additional humour of implying that homosexuals are druggies and sexual predators set on making converts.

*dies of acute sarcasmitis*

Probably best if we just stick to the "It's not gay if..." format.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:57 PM on April 19, 2012


Yes, and it will never, ever get stale because there will never, ever be anything that isn't absolutely hilarious about rape. The only thing that might improve that joke is if it were about a straight man and an unwilling woman. Comedy gold! But then again, you wouldn't get the additional humour of implying that homosexuals are druggies and sexual predators set on making converts.

If you had a cookbook about plates of beans, I'd love to buy a copy.
posted by hippybear at 10:20 PM on April 19, 2012


Yes, and it will never, ever get stale because there will never, ever be anything that isn't absolutely hilarious about rape.

Sys Rq, I've always assumed that the "joke" is that alcohol and weed lower inhibitions, leading otherwise straight people to have sex with those of the same gender. I don't think it's anything to do with rape.
posted by humph at 1:59 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


SysRq was probably thinking of the kind of edge-case rape where you keep on giving a person alcohol until they are falling-down drunk and can't communicate coherently, then have sex with them. This is considered rape in many districts, on the grounds that consent can't exist without coherent communication, or perhaps that rational thought is necessary for consent--I'm not sure, I guess it varies.

I think there's a difference between buying someone beer to get in their pants and waiting until someone is falling-down drunk and babbling incoherently to get in their pants, but tipsy people might not be able to make that distinction reliably. It is nonetheless common to go out with the intention to get roaring drunk and sleep with someone you've never met before, as a way to "cut loose" and have "fun".

I think it's appropriate to get indignant about that, but it seems rather common to get it confused with date rape. Better vocabulary is needed.
posted by LogicalDash at 6:09 AM on April 20, 2012


As the old joke goes (told mostly between gay men):

What's the difference between gay and straight? A six pack and a joint.


Well, and a bit of selection bias...
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:57 PM on April 20, 2012


I just found Unusual Changes in Sexuality: Case Studies in Neurology, which doesn't seem to have been posted here yet.
posted by zamboni at 3:25 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


It didn't change my sexual orientation (pansexual) but my daughters tell me my brain damage did change my personality drastically. Luckily, I ended up being calmer and less controlling, instead of becoming a harder person to be around.
posted by _paegan_ at 6:59 AM on April 22, 2012


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