Entertainment host Mario Lopez has walked back his recent controversial comments in which he implied that it’s dangerous for parents to definitively label their young children as transgender.
“The comments I made were ignorant and insensitive, and I now have a deeper understanding of how hurtful they were,” Lopez said in a statement. “I have been and always will be an ardent supporter of the LGBTQ community, and I am going to use this opportunity to better educate myself. Moving forward I will be more informed and thoughtful.”
Lopez made the original comments during an interview with conservative TV personality Candace Owens, when she noted the “weird trend” in Hollywood of celebrity children picking their own gender. Owens pointed to Charlize Theron in particular, who recently revealed that her 7-year-old child Jackson doesn’t identify as a boy. “Celebrities are coming out — and I know Charlize Theron did this a few weeks ago — and saying that their child is picking their gender,” Owens said.
The “Saved by the Bell” star agreed, saying he struggles to understand their mentality, too. “I’m blown away,” he said.
“Look, I’m never one to tell anyone how to parent their kids, obviously, and I think if you come from a place of love, you really can’t go wrong,” he continued. “But at the same time, my God, if you’re 3 years old and you’re saying you’re feeling a certain way, or you think you’re a boy or a girl or whatever the case may be, I just think it’s dangerous as a parent to make that determination then — ‘Okay, well then you’re going to be a boy or a girl,’ whatever the case may be. It’s sort of alarming and my gosh, I just think about the repercussions later on.”
The pair went on to confuse gender identity and sexual orientation when Owens pointed to her own temporary tomboy phase as evidence that no one can definitively label their “sexuality” as such a young age. Lopez continued to mistakenly refer to gender as sexuality, saying, “When you’re a kid … You don’t know anything about sexuality, you’re just a kid.”
Lopez also commented on the #MeToo and #BelieveWomen movements throughout his interview, noting that such activism can be dangerous since “people lie — and sometimes those people are women.”
GLAAD was one of the many people and organizations that took to social media to call out the “Access Hollywood” host. “Medical and psychological experts, and parents of children who are transgender, have long discredited the ideas that @MarioLopezExtra shared,” GLAAD tweeted. “The real dangerous action is when someone with a public platform uses bad science to speak against a vulnerable group of children.”
Other public figures, such as “Queer Eye” star Karamo Brown and former NFL player Wade Davis, in addition to the Human Rights Campaign, also took to Twitter to criticize Lopez.
“I’m disappointed to read @MarioLopezExtra comments about parent’s who support their child’s [openness] about their gender identity,” Brown wrote. “As a social worker I am trained to identify abuse or neglect of a child. Healthy & safe dialogue w/ kids is neither abusive, neglectful or ‘dangerous.'”