I have heard of lots of different things that supposedly make someone gay: having distant parents, having overbearing parents, a lack of male/female role models, strokes, recruiting drives led by the sinister Gay Mafia, childhood abuse (ugh), genetics (*ding ding ding*) — the list goes on. But Jose Benitez, mayor of the Peruvian town of Huarmey, sure has come up with a novel one! In a recent appearance at the launch of a new water access project, Benitez noted that the tap water in his area has high levels of strontium, and, whoops, that will turn all of your men gay:
Unfortunately Strontium reduces male hormones and suddenly we’ll be as Tabalosos, as other towns, where the percentages are increasing of homosexuality.
Benitez used the example of fellow Peruvian town Tabalosos, in case you're wondering, because that's where the drinking water comes from — and because a TV station in Lima once claimed the town was inhabited by 14,000 gay men. (I was going to say that a town full of that many gay men would become an instant tourist destination, but we already have it and it's called Provincetown and honestly that place makes me so tired. But also, obviously, the story about Tabalosos is not true.) As usual, if it suddenly seems like there are more gay people around you, that's because being gay is becoming more acceptable in many parts of the world. Not heavy metals.
Finally, it would be something of a mercy if high levels of strontium only caused homosexuality; instead it's known to cause bone cancer and anemia. Benitez is right to be concerned about the mineral content of his town's drinking water, but maybe he should focus on the problem that kills people? (And is real?)