Referee Nigel Owens: ‘I considered chemical castration’

Referee Nigel Owens shows the yellow card to France's Louis Picamoles, left, during the Rugby World Cup quarterfinal match between New Zealand and France at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015. AP Photo/Christophe Ena

“I didn’t want to be gay. I actually went to the doctor at one stage to see if I could be chemically castrated in any way, if it would get rid of me being gay. Looking back at that, it was a horrific thing that one would have to do, but that’s what I was going through at the time. It was only when my mom came to see me in hospital when I tried to take my own life and she told me: ‘If you try to do anything like this again, then you take me and Dad with you, because we don’t want to live our lives without you.’

I was an only child. I sat up in bed that night and I cried. I thought to myself that I need to grow up here. That’s when I accepted who I was, and that was the biggest challenge of my life over with. A lot of people are struggling with who they are. They can’t tell other people they’re gay because they’re fighting it themselves. That’s one of the reasons a lot of people are not out in sport yet.”

— Openly gay Welsh rugby referee Nigel Owens, who came out in 2007, talks candidly with CNN about his struggle to come out

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