Mario Lopez is walking back his controversial comments last month about raising transgender children, in which he called allowing a child to determine their own gender "dangerous."
"The comments I made were ignorant and insensitive, and I now have a deeper understanding of how hurtful they were," the Access Hollywood host in a statement published by PEOPLE. "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."
His initial comments came during an interview with conservative TV personality Candace Owens on her eponymous talk show, when she noted the "weird trend" in Hollywood of celebrity children choosing their own gender.
Owens specifically brought up actress Charlize Theron, who revealed earlier this year that her 7-year-old child Jackson does not identify as a boy.
When Owens brought up Theron's comments about her child picking their gender when they were 3 years old, 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 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 that determination then — 'Okay, well then you're going to be 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."
After the comments started to gain traction, Queer Eye culture expert Karamo Brown called them "disappointing" and offered to educate the Saved By the Bell actor.
"I'm disappointed to read [Lopez's] comments about parent's (sic) who support their child's opennes (sic) about their gender identity. As a social worker I am trained to identify abuse or neglect of a child. Healthy & safe dialogue [with] kids is neither abusive, neglectful or 'dangerous,'" Brown tweeted on Tuesday.
That being said, Brown said Lopez shouldn't be "canceled," but instead should be given "the opportunity to learn why his comments are harmful to trans youth and their parents."0comments
"Mario, I'm ready to talk when you are," he ended his message.
GLAAD also called out Lopez, tweeting that "medical and psychological experts, and parents of children who are transgender, have long discredited the ideas that [Lopez] shared. The real dangerous action is when someone with a public platform uses bad science to speak against a vulnerable group of children."