Mario Lopez Walks Back "Ignorant and Insensitive" Comments About Transgender Children
Mario Lopez recently came under fire for comments made about transgender children in a June interview with politically conservative commentator Candace Owens. Now, the future Access host has offered up an apology for his remarks in a statement to Yahoo Entertainment.
“The comments I made were ignorant and insensitive, and I now have a deeper understanding of how hurtful they were,” Lopez said in the 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.”
In the interview, Lopez, a father of three, remarked on what Owens described as the “weird trend” in Hollywood of parents acknowledging the preferred genders of their children.
“I am trying to understand it myself, and please don’t lump me into that whole [group],” Lopez said. “I’m kind of blown away, too. 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. 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 this determination then, well, OK, then you’re going to 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 duo continued, confusing gender identity and sexual orientation as Owens cited her tomboy phase as proof that children can’t definitively label their “sexuality.” Lopez went on to add “When you’re a kid … You don’t know anything about sexuality, you’re just a kid,” mistakenly linking gender and sexuality.
He also recommended parents hold off on conversations about gender identity with their children.
“I think parents need to allow their kids to be kids but at the same time, you gotta be the adult in the situation,” Lopez said. “Pause with that and — I think the formative years is when you start having those discussions and really start making these declarations.”
Several public figures and organizations took to social media to correct the Saved by the Bell alum.
“Medical and psychological experts, and parents of children who are transgender, have long discredited the ideas that @MarioLopezExtra shared,” GLAAD said over Twitter. “The real dangerous action is when someone with a public platform uses bad science to speak against a vulnerable group of children.”
Queer Eye star Karamo Brown also took the time to correct Lopez.
“I’m disappointed to read @MarioLopezExtra comments about parent’s who support their child’s [openness] about their gender identity,” Brown tweeted. “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.'”
He then extended the opportunity for dialogue between himself and Lopez.
Former NFL player Wade Davis furthered the point that Lopez needs an education on the subject.
“Also #MarioLopez should read more — being #Trans is about IDENTITY not sex,” he tweeted. “And trans folks understand that they are being treated differently from how they identity btw the ages of 3 & 5 & adults force gender on kids from birth. @MarioLopezExtra when all else fails — READ.”
Davis also addressed Lopez’ claim that movements such as #MeToo and #BelieveWomen can be dangerous since “people lie — and sometimes those people are women.”
“I don't believe ppl are disposal so I'm not into canceling #MarioLopez. He's clearly living in fear & doesn't know his history or doesn't care to know it because women were NEVER believed. The #metoo mvmt is attempting to change that. Thank you @TaranaBurke & @TIMESUPNOW,” Davis said in a tweet.
The Human Rights Campaign took Lopez to task for the dangers that his comments create for trans children.
Writer and transgender activist Parker Molloy was more forgiving of Lopez, noting that he likely meant no ill will, but still needed to aware himself.
“I don’t think Mario Lopez meant any harm in his comments, by the way,” Molloy tweeted. “I do think it speaks to a lot of the misinformation out there about trans kids, however. People and groups spread misinformation that gets regurgitated as fact, leading people to draw false conclusions.”
“Owens, on the other hand, is one of the people willingly pushing misinformation,” she added. “She’s terrible. I hope Lopez reflects on this a bit, maybe meets with a trans kid or two to better understand where they’re coming from.”