Cindy Barshop spoke up after Mario Lopez said it was ‘dangerous’ for parents to determine young children’s gender identities, particularly before their ‘formative years.’
Cindy Barshop, 54, is fighting stereotypes about raising a transgender child after Mario Lopez, 45, and Candace Owens, 30, discussed when’s the right time to have a conversation about gender identity with one’s kid. “When a child feels comfortable and open, identity issues are able to be discussed in the family environment,” the former star on The Real Housewives of New York City told People, her first time publicly discussing her parenting decisions regarding her transgender son Jesse, 9, and his twin sister Zoe. Clapping back at Mario and Candace’s opinions, Cindy added, “I believe living in creating an open and positive home so they are able to express themselves.”
The single mother’s remarks arrive after Mario sat down with Candace, a conservative commentator, for the June 23 episode of her podcast The Candace Owens Show. Candace addressed “this new trend” in Hollywood “where celebrities are coming out” and “saying that their child is picking their gender.” Mario was on the same page, who believed parents should wait until their children’s “formative years” before genders are determined.
“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,” Mario told Candace, continuing, “But at the same time, my God, if you’re three 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.”
The Extra host even confused gender identity with sexual orientation, as he added, “When you’re a kid … You don’t know anything about sexuality, you’re just a kid.” Cindy shared these remarks with her son, whom she recalled saying, “Why don’t you tell [Mario] that we learn about this in 5th grade and he needs to go back to 5th grade.” To that, Cindy noted, “It shows how evolved our children are and hopefully the adults will catch up.” But the former Bravo star was not trying to shame Mario, as she made the issue public in hopes that “the more awareness that we bring that people understand that trans is an identity and has absolutely nothing to do with sexuality.”
Mario has since issued a public apology for his “ignorant and insensitive” remarks on Candace’s podcast, which People obtained on July 31. “I now have a deeper understanding of how hurtful they were,” the former Saved by the Bell star continued. “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.”