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X Factor's Robbie Williams Pushes Trans Contestant for 'Birth Name'

X Factor's Robbie Williams Pushes Trans Contestant for 'Birth Name'

Robbie Williams

The singer and reality show star crossed a line and essentially "deadnamed" a transgender contestant by pressing for his "birth name" on British TV.

X Factor judge Robbie Williams crossed a line on the British competition show recently when he prodded a transgender contestant for personal information, including asking for the trans man for his "birth name." Fans of the show responded with outrage on Twitter, according to PinkNews.

Before the contestant, Felix Shepherd, 20, even had a chance to blow the doors off of a rendition of Kodaline's "All I Want" that resulted in a standing ovation, Williams asked him a series of questions, including essentially "deadnaming" him by asking for his "birth name" on national TV.

Shepherd joined the popular reality series to show that he is "more than just a transgender guy," he said. But rather than move on from Shepherd being trans to focus on his music, Williams took that as a chance to ask multiple personal questions.

"So when you were born, what was your name?" Williams asked out of the gate.

The young man answered Williams's intrusive question, prompting Williams to ask more.

"So when did you know you were Felix?" Williams said.

The Advocate has previously defined "deadnaming" as the following:

"'Deadnaming' someone who is transgender is the practice of uttering or publishing the name that a trans person used prior to transition. Cisgender people often refer to this as a trans person's 'real' name, as if the name a trans person either uses or have legally had changed is somehow less real than the one given them at birth, when they were assigned male or female. It is seen as a verbally violent offense that attempts to invalidate a person's authentic gender identity."

Shepherd, a songwriting student from Birmingham, answered Williams's questions and later tweeted that he wasn't offended. But fans on Twitter called out Williams for his tone-deaf questions.

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Tracy E. Gilchrist