Update, July 31, 2018, 4:35 p.m.:
After a full day of backlash for his comments highlighted below, Mario Lopez issued a statement to People apologizing:
“The comments I made were ignorant and insensitive, and I now have a deeper understanding of how hurtful they were,” he said. “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.”
The original story appears below:
Mario Lopez is facing online backlash following some comments he made in a recent interview on The Candace Owens Show. When asked his opinion on how parents should respond to children whose gender expression varies from the traditional boy/girl binary, Lopez stated that he personally believes it is "dangerous" and "alarming" to believe children when they tell you who they are.
According to Yahoo, Owens started the conversation by citing the example of actress Charlize Theron, who has spoken publicly about how she has followed her child Jackson's cues on what gender pronouns they use as a family. Owens positioned this kind of parenting as a "weird trend" to come out of Hollywood, then invited Lopez to share his thoughts.
"I’m kind of blown away too," Lopez 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 but at the same time, my God, if you're three 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."
Lopez went on to erroneously conflate the conversation topic of gender identity with sexuality, saying: "When you’re a kid ... you don’t know anything about sexuality yet. You’re just a kid."
He wouldn't be the first person to equate the two subjects; anti-LGBT voices often do just that in order to suggest that issues relating to gender expression and different kinds of relationships aren't "age appropriate" for young children.
What Lopez failed to acknowledge, though, is just how dangerous it can be for trans and gender non-conforming children to not talk about how they feel, as it perpetuates the silence and stigma which can negatively affect their mental health and wellbeing: Studies have shown that trans teenagers are statistically far more likely to consider or attempt suicide.
In the same interview, Lopez also commented on the #MeToo movement, suggesting that a culture that believes victims of abuse could encourage women to use false accusations as a form of revenge. "God forbid you have a son out there and a girl may have felt a certain way about a situation—dismissed, hurt, whatever, and is feeling vengeful and just decides to tell a certain story that’s not even exactly true, come back and hurt that individual," he said, recycling another popular fallacy that a man's reputation is more important than a woman's safety.
In a statement issued today, a GLAAD representative responded to Lopez's comments, saying: "Medical and psychological experts, and parents of children who are transgender, have long discredited the ideas that Mario Lopez shared last month. The real 'dangerous action' is when someone with a public platform uses bad science to speak against a marginalized and vulnerable group of children... Lopez clearly needs a primer on trans issues. We reached out to his team to see if and how he will correct the record."
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