News (USA)

DeSantis appointee thinks tap water makes people gay

Ron Peri
Photo: Screenshot

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has appointed a pastor who traffics in anti-LGBTQ+ conspiracy theories to serve on the board that controls Disney’s special tax district. The Orlando-based Ron Peri has shared video discussions on YouTube asserting that homosexuality is “evil” and suggesting that tap water turns people gay, according to a CNN report.

Peri is one of five DeSantis appointees who now sit on the board of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which governs the 25,000 acres around Disney World. DeSantis stripped Disney of its control of the special tax district last year after the entertainment giant’s then-chairman opposed Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law.

As CNN reports, Peri has a history of making anti-LGBTQ+ comments and spreading baseless conspiracy theories online. In a January 2022 Zoom discussion with a Christian group he founded that was uploaded to YouTube (but has since been removed), Peri repeated a claim, memorably touted by Alex Jones, that chemicals in tap water turn people— and, according to Jones, frogs — gay.

“So why are there homosexuals today? There are any number of reasons, you know, that are given,” Peri reportedly said in the video. “Some would say the increase in estrogen in our societies. You know, there’s estrogen in the water from birth control pills. They can’t get it out.”

“The level of testosterone in men broadly in America has declined by 50 points in the past 10 years. You know, and so, maybe that’s a part of it,” Peri continued.

As CNN notes, while testosterone levels in men have decreased in recent decades, those levels have not dropped by “50 points,” and there is no indication that testosterone affects sexual orientation. There is also no evidence that estrogen in the water supply affects sexual orientation.

Peri also suggested that “the removal of constraint” is responsible for more people identifying as LGBTQ+. “So our society provided the constraint…which is the responsibility of a society to constrain people from doing evil,” he said. “Well, you remove the constraints, and then evil occurs.”

Peri called homosexuality “shameful” and “deviant,” and suggested that “There are a lot of unhealthy effects of a homosexual lifestyle.”

“There are diseases, but it goes beyond that,” he said.

He also claimed that LGBTQ+ people “don’t have a stake in the future” because many do not have children.

In another video, Peri reportedly repeated a fringe theory that acceptance of homosexuality was responsible for the fall of the Roman Empire. “Homosexuality was praised,” he said. “LGBTQ today is being emphasized everywhere, even on children’s shows. And so ultimately the Romans had become weak.”

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