“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 to Yahoo Entertainment. “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 Saved by the Bell alum and entertainment reporter made the remarks on PragerU video series The Candace Owens Show last month, but they resurfaced this week.
During his appearance, Lopez, the father of three young children, discussed with the politically conservative commentator what Owens called a “weird trend” in Hollywood, of celebrity parents recognizing their children’s preferred gender.
“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.”
Lopez later mistakenly linked gender identity and sexual preference, saying, “When you’re a kid... you don’t know anything about sexuality yet. You’re just a kid.”
He also advised parents to postpone 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.” He used air quotes for those last words.
Lopez’s words were slammed on Twitter, and the LGBTQ support organization PFLAG swiftly offered to give him “more education on what being #transgender means, the difference between #sexualorientation, #sex, and #gender... and a whole lot of other things.”
It’s okay @MarioLopezExtra. We’re here to help provide more education on what being #transgender means, the difference between #sexualorientation, #sex, and #gender... and a whole lot of other things. https://t.co/ahjYTyenMD— PFLAG National (@PFLAG) July 31, 2019
Queer Eye host Karamo Brown, who worked as a social worker before taking on reality TV, said, “Healthy & safe dialogue w/ kids is neither abusive, neglectful or ‘dangerous.’”
I’m disappointed to read @MarioLopezExtra comments about parent’s who support their child’s openes about their gender identity. 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.” https://t.co/aTkL2sLm4u— Karamo Brown (@Karamo) July 31, 2019
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.— Karamo Brown (@Karamo) July 31, 2019
Brown noted that he was “disappointed” to hear Lopez’s comments, but said he didn’t think Lopez should be “canceled.” Instead, he offered to talk with him about the issue.
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