Anna Sheffer
Updated Jul 31, 2019 @ 1:38 pm

Even as awareness of the transgender community (slowly) improves, there are still many, many misconceptions about what it means to be trans. Trans youth in particular often face the criticism that they’re too young to know their gender identity. Now, Mario Lopez is facing backlash over some problematic comments he made about transgender kids.

Lopez appeared on the June 23rd episode of PragerU’s The Candace Owens Show, hosted by Fox News contributor and right-wing provocateur Candace Owens. His comments on the show attracted new outrage when Yahoo! Lifestyle published a write-up about the interview on July 30th. In the video, Owens brought up other celebrities, like Charlize Theron, who have young children who identify as transgender. She argued that kids shouldn’t be trusted to “pick their gender,” adding that she has seen “children who say they’re mermaids” and “children say they could fly.”

In response, Lopez asked that Owens not “lump” him in with celebrities like Theron.

He also called transgender kids “alarming,” and seemed to equate gender and sexual identities.

Several LGBTQ advocates pointed out that this idea can be harmful.

Queer Eye‘s Karamo Brown tweeted that he was “disappointed” with Lopez’s stance and wrote that “healthy & safe dialogue w/ kids is neither abusive, neglectful or ‘dangerous.'”

Transgender journalist Parker Molloy explained in a thread that really young trans kids don’t undergo any irreversible medical transitions.

The Transgender Law Center tweeted that it is dangerous to “forcibly confine youth to gender norms,” as Lopez suggested.

Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD also agreed that Lopez’s comments were harmful.

Many others weighed in, too.

Fortunately, it seems like Lopez took the criticism to heart, and he apologized in a statement issued to Variety.

Ultimately, trans kids deserve to have their identities recognized. We hope that Lopez will take this as a learning moment.