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Rugby referee Nigel Owens asked to be castrated while struggling with sexuality

2017-02-07
Rugby referee Nigel Owens has revealed that he asked a doctor whether he could be chemically castrated after realising that he was gay. The 45-year-old Welsh international rugby union referee, who came out publicly as gay in 2007, opened up about his struggle to come to terms with his sexuality on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs. He also spoke about his attempted suicide in 1996 at the age of 24. He told the radio presenter Kirsty Young: "I cried that night and realised, 'I need to grow up'." Owens then went on to describe how he went to see a doctor, telling him: "l do not want to be gay. Can I get chemically castrated?" The senior rugby figure has previously spoken of how he was left suicidal after struggling with his sexuality, becoming hooked on steroids, and battling depression and bulimia. Owens told Young that he "would have done anything to be 'normal' in people's eyes" at the time. “Refereeing that World Cup final between Australia and New Zealand in front of 85,000 people and the millions of people watching at home, scrutinising every single decision you make under a huge amount of pressure, was nothing compared to the challenge of accepting who I was. Accepting who I was then, saved my life,” he explained. Owens came out to his mother when he was 34, shortly before coming out to the world prior to the 2007 Rugby World Cup. "I was brought up to be honest, and here I was lying to the most important person in my life. It was affecting my life", he said. "Unless you are happy with who you are, you cannot excel and be the best you can be at whatever you are doing. You cannot enjoy life if you are not happy within yourself." If you’re concerned about your own well-being or that of a loved one, call the Samaritans on 116 123 (UK) or 116 123 (Republic of Ireland). More stories: How Instagram became the new gay cruising ground ‘There’s more to me than just a body’ – Tom Daley dives into Attitude’s body issue