“I’m in the people business, and I don’t want to alienate anyone,” Mario Lopez said early on in his interview with conservative talking head Candace Owens, on her PragerU web show.
He failed to stick that landing, bringing controversy down upon himself for comments about transgender and gender non-conforming children.
Owens asked the actor about what she called the “weird trend” of parents allowing their children to express their gender identities as they see fit, specifically citing Charlize Theron, who revealed earlier this year that her 7-year-old, who was assigned male at birth, has begun identifying as a girl.
“I’m trying to understand this new Hollywood mentality where they just think their children now have the mental authority and clarity [to self-identify],” Owens said.
“I’m trying to understand that myself, and please don’t lump me into that whole…” Lopez said, laughing and trailing off.
“I’m kind of blown away too,” he continued. “Look, I’m never one to tell anyone how to parent their kids, obviously, and I always say if you’re coming 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, 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 that, ’Okay, well then you’re gonna be a boy, or a girl,’ whatever the case may be, it’s sort of alarming. I just think of the repercussions later on.”
“You don’t know anything about sexuality yet,” he added, conflating sexuality and gender identity. “You’re just a kid.”
“I think parents need to allow their kids to be kids but at the same time, you gotta be the adult in the situation. Pause with that and—I think the formative years is when you start having those discussions and really start making these declarations,” he concluded.
Evidently it's now *scandalous* to say that a child probably shouldn't be making their own life-altering decisions at 3 years old.
Mario Lopez and Candace Owens discuss.@MarioLopezExtra @RealCandaceO pic.twitter.com/2Wdc79SrjW
— PragerU (@prageru) July 31, 2019
Lopez also bemoaned the “politically correct” nature of Hollywood, and said criticisms of Kevin Hart over anti-LGBTQ comments he made in the past that were brought back to light during the Oscars hosting controversy were a “slippery slope.”
“Thank God my bachelor years and all that was pre-social media,” he added.
The actor and TV host also took on the me too movement, arguing that hashtags like #BelieveWomen are “dangerous” as well, because they could be lying.
“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.
“Some children who explore non-stereotypical forms of gender expression are transgender, however others just want a flexible gender expression,” Christia Brown, PhD., a social psychology professor and author of Parenting Beyond Pink & Blue told Yahoo Lifestyle. “Kids are drawn to what they find aesthetically pleasing and there’s often not deeper meaning.”
“Dangerous,” she said, was expecting children to present in ways that don’t feel natural to them.
The Transgender Law Center has also responded, with a post on Facebook, telling the celebrity “with all due respect, supporting trans youth is not dangerous.”
“It is dangerous to do the very thing you suggest: forcibly confine youth to gender norms. We refuse to let that reasoning go on without consequence.”
The interview has also drawn heavy criticism on Twitter:
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
Mario Lopez’s comments are dangerous to the safety and well-being of LGBTQ youth, especially trans children who deserve to be loved and accepted for who they are. https://t.co/iRBwyobelf
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) July 31, 2019
Of our 5 kids, 2 are queer. They both came out in their early teens but we knew who they were way, way before then.
Parents can tell the different between a 3 year old who pretends to be another gender for fun and one who feels they are living in the wrong body. STFU Mario Lopez https://t.co/pKXketgy6P
— Holly Figueroa O'Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan) July 31, 2019
Why would Mario Lopez visit Candace Owen’s show in the first place? pic.twitter.com/PZvbc4Kz3B
— MoneybaggHo (@KirkWrites79) July 31, 2019