In a statement issued to USA TODAY Wednesday, through his rep Lisa Perkins, the TV host and "Saved by the Bell" alum said: “The comments I made were ignorant and insensitive, and I now have a deeper understanding of how hurtful they were. 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," he added, "I will be more informed and thoughtful.”
Lopez appeared as a guest on "The Candace Owens Show" last month with the conservative host who said, "I'm trying to understand this new Hollywood mentality where they just think that their children now have the mental authority and clarity (to decide their gender)."
“I am trying to understand it myself, and, please, don’t lump me into that whole …” Lopez, 45, responded. “I’m kind of blown away, too."
He went on: "Look, I’m never one to tell anyone how to parent their kids obviously… and I would say 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, whatever the case may be, I just think it's dangerous as a parent to make that determination then, 'OK, well, then you’re gonna be a boy or girl,' whatever the case may be, and it's sort of alarming and my gosh, I just think about the repercussions later on."
"I think parents need to allow their kids to be kids, but at the same time, you got to be the adult in the situation," he added later. "Pause with that, and I think the formative years is when you start having those discussions and really start making these declarations."
Some expressed concern over Lopez's remarks, including "Queer Eye" co-host Karamo Brown, who tweeted his dismay. "I’m disappointed to read @MarioLopezExtra comments about parent’s who support their child’s (openness) about their gender identity," he posted. "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 added: "I don’t think @MarioLopezExtra should be ‘canceled’. But I do believe he should be given the opportunity to learn why his comments are harmful to trans youth and their parents. Mario, I’m ready to talk when you are."
The Human Rights Campaign described his comments as "dangerous to the safety and well-being of LGBTQ youth, especially trans children who deserve to be loved and accepted for who they are."
In a message directed to Lopez, Out magazine's executive editor Raquel Willis wrote in a tweet: "Transphobic parents are the danger not children being their truest selves. Too many parents terrorize their children by forcing them into these gender boxes and limiting their expression. If you're doing this, your parenting sucks."
Ironically, Lopez, who said he was registered as an independent but considered himself conservative, spoke of political correctness earlier in his sitdown with Owens. The actor said Hollywood has become a place where "everyone's afraid to offend and incredibly politically correct. And for a creative community, I think that's very dangerous to do, and it limits you… as far as telling stories and having conversations, and it's sort of frustrating to see from the outside. So, that's why it's better to not even go there."
"It is interesting to see for a community that's supposed to be all about inclusivity and diversity," he continued, "they're with you, unless it's diversity of thought."
Trevor Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-850-8078
Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860
National Youth Crisis Hotline: 1-800-448-4663
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mario Lopez: Transgender remarks about kids were 'hurtful,' 'ignorant'