An Italian scientist has made the startling claim that vaccinations turn kids gay by interfering with their development.
Gian Paolo Vanoli has drawn international attention for a series of claims he made to the press regarding vaccines and their supposed link to homosexuality. In a recent interview with Vice Italy, Vanoli said (translation courtesy of The Huffington Post):
The vaccine is introduced into the child, the child then grows and tries to find its own personality, and if this is inhibited by mercury or other substances present in the vaccine which enter the brain, the child becomes gay.
Vanoli is a staunch opponent of vaccines and indeed, mainstream medical science.
Above, for instance, he apes the still unsubstantiated but widespread fear that mercury-containing thimerosal preservatives, which are used in some vaccines, can damage child development and, so the errant theory goes, may cause or, we often hear, “trigger” conditions like autism.
This has been the emergence point for many vaccine-autism link claims since the 90s when the study was published, but a number of independent studies have found no evidence to suggest any such links. Specifically for this case, they have also failed to find that thimerosal preservative, now no longer widely used in the United States, presents any direct health risk. Still, the controversy rumbles on.
Vanoli offers us the following explanation for his baffling homosexuality-vaccine link:
The problem will especially be present in the next generations, because when gays have children, the children will carry along with them the DNA of their parent’s illness. Because homosexuality is a disease, even though the WHO has decided that it is not. Who cares! The reality is that it is so. Each vaccination produces homosexuality, because it prevents the formation of one’s personality. It is a microform of autism, if you will. You will see how many gays there will be in the next generation, it will be a disaster.
Lest we think Vanoli is anti-gay, in a separate interview with Gay Star News, he says he supports gay marriage and same-sex adoption rights. When pushed on his belief that being gay is a “deviance,” he replies everyone is deviant. He affirms he does not believe in the Roman Catholic Church’s approach to religion, but does believe in a “God of Love.”
More illuminating, though, is a question regarding whether he is paid for espousing these views, in which he clarifies the following:
I’m a naturopata, a scientist who does not believe in the official science.
At least one million Italians believe in what I do believe. In the past I had a company, working in the transport sector, I used to finance my ideas with the revenues.
But official doctors made me close the company, because they were against my ideas.
It almost hurts to add there has never been even a casual link between vaccines and homosexuality in humans. So where is Vanoli getting this from?
Vanoli may have wrongly inferred the homosexuality and mercury link based on the fact that mercury is known to disrupt hormone balance. One study in which scientists observed homosexual paring among American white ibises from south Florida seems an obvious touch point for this, too.
Due to environmental pollutants, the birds were consuming high doses of methylmercury, the most toxic and easily absorbed form of mercury found in the environment. White ibises are not known to form homosexual pairs in the wild and so the study speculated that mercury exposure may be the culprit for the birds’ far reaching breeding problem.
However, this is only a casual link and, much more importantly, the exposure rate and the type of mercury in the ibises case is vastly different form than found in thimerosal. The scientists involved in that study even made it explicit that there is no established link for humans.
To be blunt, Vanoli, who in the Vice Italy interview also espouses the (nonexistent) benefits of drinking one’s own urine in order to cure diseases including cancer, is making a number of quack claims.
What’s more, he has produced a damaging lie which stands to feed into anti-vaccine culture and could create further paranoia and, whether he means to or not, stigmatization of gay and trans people.
Image credit: Thinkstock.