A transgender X Factor contestant who was asked his “birth name” by judge Robbie Williams during his audition on Saturday night has defended the pop star, and said the full scene wasn’t aired.
Felix Shepherd made headlines when his performance of Kodaline’s “All I Want” wowed judges on Saturday night. However, some fans were left disappointed after Robbie Williams appeared to deadname Shepherd.
In the clip that aired on ITV, Shepherd said he wanted to prove to people that he was “more than just a transgender guy.”
Williams responded by asking him: “So when you were born, what was your name?”
Shepherd has now come to Williams’ defence, and said that the full clip wasn’t aired. He explained to BANG Showbiz that Williams also asked him “if it was OK” to question what his name had been before he transitioned, however this part was not shown.
He added: “I wasn’t offended by anything he said, so that’s the most important thing. I do feel people are entitled and would feel different ways about it.
Williams came under fire from fans of the show on social media after the audition aired, with many calling him out for asking Shepherd for his birth name.
One fan said that it was “not an acceptable thing to do” and another called it “darn rude.”
Another tweet called Williams “gross and disrespectful” for the question, and said the X Factor was “dead and finished.”
Shepherd responded to the controversy on Sunday by tweeting to say that he was “in no way offended by Robbie’s question, and thanked everybody for their support.
During his audition, which was a hit with the audience and viewers alike, Shepherd told the judges that he realised he was trans when he was in year nine at school, and decided he had to be himself and “tell people.”
He has also revealed that he has received messages of support from fans, and had heard from a few trans people who had used Shepherd’s appearance on the show to tell their own families that they were transgender.
UK LGBT+ charity Stonewall classifies dead-naming as when someone refers to a trans person “using the name they had before they transitioned,” and notes that it can be “deeply hurtful to trans people.”
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