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Jose Benitez, Peruvian Mayor, Fears Tap Water's Minerals Will Turn Town Gay

Drinking Water

First Posted: 11/22/11 12:00 PM ET Updated: 11/22/11 04:04 PM ET

In one of the most unusual claims about homosexuality to emerge in some time, a Peruvian mayor is blaming the high mineral levels in the area's drinking water for a perceived increase in the number of gay men residing in his town.

As Pink News is reporting, Huarmey Mayor Jose Benitez made the bizarre comments at the launch of a local water access project, where he noted high levels of strontium in the tap water. The drinking water comes from Tabalosos, a town which a Lima-based television station once claimed was inhabited by 14,000 gay men.

“Unfortunately strontium reduces male hormones and suddenly we’ll be as Tabalosos, as other towns, where the percentages are increasing of homosexuality,” Benitez is quoted by LGBT Asylum News as saying. “Young people have low self-esteem by this stigma."

Dr. Robert Castro Rodriguez, dean of the College of Pharmaceutical Chemistry of Lima, quickly dismissed Benitez's claims, telling Peruvian radio that large amounts of strontium in the body eventually lead to bone cancer, anemia and cardiovascular complications –- but not homosexuality.

It's not the first eyebrow-raising claim about homosexuality to emerge out of Peru. In 2009, Peruvian Interior Minister Mercedes Cabanillas announced it would ban homosexuals from the police force for damaging the image of the institution, reports the BBC.

Similarly, Bolivian President Evo Morales decried chicken producers who inject female hormones into their fowl, "and because of that, men who consume them have problems being men," reports The Los Angeles Times.

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Filed by Curtis M. Wong  |