Natural News, a “health/wellbeing website” has 1.5 million followers on Facebook. Scrolling down their page I see articles on why vaccines are harming us, how avocados can cure leukaemia, and how microwaves eliminate all nutrients from food. Any of these could be the topic of a sceptic column, but then I saw a deplorable post titled “Are We Being Chemically Altered into Homosexuality?”
The author, Sarah Barendse, begins by saying “Up until this very moment in writing this article I fully believed that people were born and on a genetic level were either inclined to be straight, gay or somewhere in-between.” However, her introduction is promptly contradicted when she says “it has been shown” that a certain chemical in weedkiller, Atrazine, induces “hermaphroditism” and “chemical castration” in frogs. The frogs exhibited “noticeable demasculinisation” (no, I have no idea what a “masculine” frog is like). Barendse claims that we may be exposed to trace amounts of Atrazine in our tap water. She then announces her belief that this has led to the increase in openly queer people in the USA.
The blog’s homophobia and transphobia are blatant. Being gay, trans, non-binary, or “masculine” have nothing to do with libido, the appearance or physical characteristics of your genitals, or testosterone levels. More troubling is the “concerned” tone of the following sentence: “I have wondered many times what is happening to our society, as so many men seem to be becoming more and more feminine, softer, and more and more are coming out as transgender or gay.” What is “happening” in society is the gradual acceptance of non-heteronormative genders and sexualities.
Barendse believes that this plot to turn everybody gay is a conspiracy by governments and the “New World Order” to curb reproduction, because “there is no reproduction possible at all in homosexual relationships”. The idiocy is palpable. Many countries have a steeply declining birth rate because of birth control. To claim that the rise in openly queer people is the result of a conspiracy to make us “unwell” rather than a progressive social change is mean, homophobic and stupid. Natural News seems to equate “natural” with heteronormative, and that’s fucked.