One of the long-running debates in our nation’s culture wars is the cause of homosexuality. Are people born gay or straight? Or is it a learned behavior, like juggling, except with one more ball involved? A small town mayor in South America has another theory: he says that the citizens of his fair municipality are being transformed into flaming queens by the potable water.
Huarmey, Peru’s mayor, José Benítez, contended that high levels of the metal strontium in the tap water hinders male hormones and induces the local men into eschewing machismo for matching handbags. He made the remark at the launch of a local venture that intends to facilitate more water access to his constituents. The coastal town of Huarmey, known for its lengthy beaches and "abundant shrimp" (deep-sea clam diving isn’t nearly as popular), receives its water from a nearby town that was reported by a television station in Lima to be home to 14,000 homosexual men. Tabalosos (or as it’s known in the gay community, Shangri-La) was held up by Benítez as an example of the dire consequences of strontium ingestion. Without intervention “we’ll be as Tabalosos, as other towns, where the percentages are increasing of homosexuality,” he predicted. “Young people have low self-esteem by this stigma.”
But the dean of the College of Pharmaceutical Chemistry of Lima refuted the mayor. Dr. Robert Castro Rodriguez explained to Peruvian radio that excessive quantities of strontium in the body do not trigger homosexuality, but they have been proven to lead to anemia, cardiovascular disorders and bone cancer. But nobody gives a crap if strontium gives them run-of-the-mill fatal diseases. The mayor is keenly aware that people are frightened less of contracting bone cancer than deriving satisfaction of being boned from behind.
The row over the source of homosexuality is moot anyways. How does its derivation matter in regards to its legitimacy? It’s like foot fetishes: was that person from inception destined to dig footjobs or get a stiffy whenever the click-clock of high heels is in earshot? Or did they learn it in childhood when Mommy never gave them enough attention and they internalized an inferiority-to-women complex which physically manifests itself in foot worship? Maybe my armchair Freudian analysis is completely off-base and neither is correct. Point is, it doesn’t matter. If the act is privately performed by consenting adults, then who gives a shit? Besides, of course, prying politicians who toss in the towel on battling real problems and ensure reelection by pushing the gay panic button.
The nature vs. nurture debate is irrelevant when determining the legality or morality of an act. If your holy book says its sinful, fine. But questioning its roots does not alter its character. It is no more right or wrong if the inclination to commit it was created in the womb, during puberty or while chugging some H2O from the faucet. You can even blame a stroke for your newfound propensity for stroking others, like a British rugby player-turned-hairdresser recently has.
Benítez is sounding the alarm on a real problem by deflecting the discussion onto the boogeyman of homosexuality. And even if the mayor’s charge is accurate, what does he expect? When it’s raining men, you have to expect some of the runoff to make it into the water supply.