By Jase Peeples
Originally published on Advocate.com February 04 2014 2:47 PM ET
Juan Pablo Galavis, ABC's newest Bachelor, ignited angry criticism after telling a reporter last month that, in order to protect children watching at home, there should never be a gay version of the dating show. The reality star was quick to retract his statements, issuing two separate apologies of his own: one on his Facebook page claiming he misspoke because his English “vocabulary is not as broad as it is in Spanish,” and one through LGBT media organization GLAAD, in which he addressed LGBT parents directly, apologizing for any hurt his remarks caused.
After additional meetings with GLAAD, Galavis once again addressed the perceived homophobic comments he made with People en Espanol, further clarifying his views on LGBT people, their families, and his own evolution since the controversy began.
An English translation of Galavis’s recent comments, provided by GLAAD exclusively to The Advocate, reads:
Recently I said some things that were very problematic and have led the public to question my feelings about gay, lesbian and bisexual people.
Although it has been a difficult situation and I've apologized for the misunderstanding, I do think something good can come out of this and that is that I now have the opportunity to say what I do feel. During an interview, I used a word that did not at all express what I meant to say.
I never meant to criticize the idea of gay people. The reality is I have no problem with same-sex couples who want to be parents. I'm a father and so I know how it feels, I definitely want my gay friends to have that feeling. Watching the way so many of my friends treat my daughter Camila — like family — I can see how much my gay friends want to be parents — and how good they will be at it. If Camila happens to be gay when she grows up, I will respect her, support her and love her the same as I do now.
When GLAAD representatives shared with me some stories, and told me how often LGBT people are attacked verbally and physically, assaulted and even murdered, this helped me reflect on this situation. I could understand a little better the calls I received from gay and straight friends. And it made me think why not do more to help, so it’s time to speak out.
I wish, of course, it had not come about the way it did, but I'm glad that this situation can be an opportunity to help people accept and respect the LGBT community. As human beings, we should all think about how to make society better so that each individual feels respected.