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X Factor: Robbie Williams Criticised For Asking Transgender Contestant Felix Shephard's 'Dead Name'

X Factor: Robbie Williams Criticised For Asking Transgender Contestant Felix Shephard's 'Dead Name'

He probably meant no harm, it's just bad form.

Tom Wood

Tom Wood

The X Factor is back on outr Saturday night screens, as Simon and his merry band of ever-changing judges returned to run the rule over more singing hopefuls.

However, it wouldn't be a series of The X Factor without some early controversy. Robbie Williams - returning to the show as a judge - is certainly no stranger to that.

And during last night's show, Robbie has come in for a bit of criticism for the way he dealt with a transgender contestant on the show by asking him to reveal what he was called before his transition.

Robbie went on to applaud his story, and he sang beautifully and impressed all of the judges. But as many in the trans community - and those familiar with it - already know, it's not the done thing.

The contestant in question was 20-year-old music student Felix Shephard from Birmingham.

ITV/The X Factor

He arrived on the show and explained: "I'm from Birmingham. I'm currently studying a degree in songwriting and I'm loving every second of it."

He continued: "I'm kind of here today to prove to people that I'm more than just a transgender guy. We can be, kind of, overlooked, I suppose."

ITV/The X Factor

The former Take That singer then asked the question: "So when you were born, what was your name?"

Felix then told him what his 'dead name' - as it is commonly known - was.

He went on: "In about year nine at school, I told one of my friends that I didn't really know what it all was. It was that point where I was like, for myself more than anything, I was like: 'I've got to kind of be who I am' and tell people."

After the slightly awkward line of questioning, Robbie applauded Felix's story, and he sang Kodaline's 'All I Want'.

After the performance, Robbie said: "Your journey so far in life is fascinating and I, for one, want to see where the rest of this journey will take you."

However, some people online have criticised Robbie for the situation he put Felix in.

One person said: "Okay so Felix is lovely and I'm really proud to see another trans person on the TV, but has No-one told Robbie Williams it's considered pretty darn rude to ask someone's birth name? That's quite an on-the-spot situation to be put in, having to explain oneself."


"Just to clarify, I don't think the way he phrased it was rude, I just wasn't sure tv was the place for discussing someone's gender history. But that's just me. And I appreciate it can be confusing or difficult if no-one's told you what the community as a whole considers rude (not every trans person has a qualm with talking about their past)."

"It just seemed sudden, but then, as people have pointed out, the lad invited the discussion by saying he was trans and Robbie was just asking a question out of curiously. Totally fair."


Well, at least he'll hopefully know for the future - and Felix is into the next round.

Featured Image Credit: ITV

Topics: TV and Film, UK Entertainment, Robbie Williams, ITV, The X Factor, transgender