#IStandWithMarioLopez trends on Twitter after he says it's "dangerous" for parents to support young transgender children

By Caitlin O'Kane

/ CBS News

Mario Lopez was trending on Twitter Wednesday — along with the hashtag "I Stand With Mario Lopez." While some people were sharing support for the entertainment host, others were condemning him for comments he recently made about transgender children.

During a 40-minute interview with conservative host Candace Owens, Lopez said it was "dangerous" for parents to support young transgender children. Owens called raising transgender children a "weird trend" in Hollywood.

"I'm blown away too," Lopez replied. "I'm never one to tell anyone how to parent their children… if you come from a place of love, you can't go wrong."

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"But, my God, if you're 3 years old and you're saying you're feeling a certain way and you think you're a boy or girl, I think it's dangerous as a parent to make that determination then," he continued. Lopez said it's "alarming" and there may be repercussions later on.

His comments, made on Owens' YouTube show in June, sparked backlash online Wednesday. Lopez released a statement, saying his comments were "ignorant and insensitive," and that he is "going to use this opportunity to better educate" himself.

Despite the backlash, many Twitter users said they stood with Lopez and that there was nothing wrong with the comments he made — including Donald Trump Jr. He shared a clip from the conservative PragerU YouTube channel, which is standing by Lopez's comments as well.

I literally can't see anything wrong with what Mario Lopez said here that would cause the Outrage Mob try to destroy him…

He was as reasonable and accepting as anyone could be but because he may have had doubts about letting a 3 Year Old make a permanent decision hes killed? https://t.co/ELWmZuKUvL

— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 31, 2019

Ben Shapiro, editor in chief of the conservative site The Daily Wire, also found nothing wrong with Lopez' comments. And conservative comedian Terrence K. Williams tweeted his support for Lopez, encouraging others to stand with him.

Many Twitter users started sharing their support in the form of the #IStandWithMarioLopez hashtag. But while some said he did nothing wrong, others said Lopez's comments were harmful and Lopez and Owens were uneducated on the issue.

"I'm disappointed to read [Mario Lopez'] comments about parent's who support their child's openes about their gender identity," Queer Eye star Karamo 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.'"

Some critics said Lopez should be "canceled." Brown said instead, "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."

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

Brown's "Queer Eye" co-star Jonathan Van Ness also weighed in. "If you're not raising a child who is part of the LGBTQ+ community you should really be quiet," Van Ness tweeted. "You don't need to understand what you do not know. You both need to do better, your causal transphobia is par for the course. Christianity says leave judgment to god."

During the interview, Lopez and Owens continuously confused gender and sexuality during their discussion. Gender and sexuality are two separate aspects of a person's identity.

Gender refers to a person's identity as male, female, a continuum or blend of both, or perhaps conforming to neither. Sex refers to a person's biological makeup, while sexual orientation is about who they are attracted to. Experts say transgender individuals do not "choose" their gender or sexuality.

GLAAD also responded to Lopez' comments, saying they spoke with his current employer, "Extra," a syndicated entertainment news program. "We spoke with Extra and it is clear that the showrunners do not support or share his view," GLAAD tweeted. "They will address this issue on the show tonight. Lopez clearly needs a primer on trans issues. We reached out to his team to see if and how he will correct the record."

In another tweet, GLAAD wrote: "Medical and psychological experts, and parents of children who are transgender, have long discredited the ideas that [Mario Lopez] shared. The real dangerous action is when someone with a public platform uses bad science to speak against a vulnerable group of children."

Lopez is set to join NBC's "Access Hollywood" as a host in September. NBC Universal declined to comment.

We spoke with Extra and it is clear that the showrunners do not support or share his view. They will address this issue on the show tonight. Lopez clearly needs a primer on trans issues. We reached out to his team to see if and how he will correct the record.

— GLAAD (@glaad) July 31, 2019

First published on July 31, 2019 / 4:37 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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