X Factor judge attacks trans singer: She sings back ‘Words can’t bring me down’

Serbian X Factor judge and former Eurovision entrant Željko Joksimović criticized for transphobic attack on a Macedonian singer

X Factor judge attacks trans singer: She sings back ‘Words can’t bring me down’
07 November 2013

When a Serbian X Factor judge attacked a contestant for being transgender she sang her response: ‘I am beautiful, no matter what they say.’

The amazing moment, her talent and her beauty won the hearts of the other three judges and the crowd – who rewarded her for saying she was trans with a spontaneous round of applause.

But LGBTI activists in Serbia have criticized the attack by the X Factor judge and former Eurovision contestant Željko Joksimović.

Fifi Janevski was performing on the TV singing contest on 5 November when she was asked about her gender identity.

She replied she was transgender and should be referred to as female but Joksimović replied with what LGBTI activists in the country have said was ‘firstly disrespect, then disbelief and loathing’

He told her: ‘I personally don’t like that… but you are a good singer.’

And he laughingly suggested to other judges there was a male-female clash in the singer, saying ‘there are two of them’.

Janevski wowed the crowd and the other judges with her version of Cher’s famous Dov’e L’Amore.

But at the end of her performance, Joksimović told Janevski he was ‘not persuaded’ and asked her to sing more.

She replied by bursting into an acappella version of Christina Aguilera’s song, telling him: ‘I am beautiful no matter what they say. Words can’t bring me down. So don’t you bring me down today.’

A spokesperson for Gayten-LGBT, a leading LGBTI organization in Belgrade, told us: ‘Željko made a transphobic remark but the other judges were really supportive and loving.

‘Kristina Kovač, Kiki Lesendrić and Emina Jahović, all showed support and complimented her on her performance, singing, looks and bravery.’

In a joint statement from Gayten-LGBT and Labris, activists say: ‘Željko Joksimović, being a public persona and a well-known musician has a responsibility towards what he states in public.

‘He has shown a basic ignorance of the right to gender expression and thus we find that he broke the anti-discrimination law, judging a person based on her personal characteristic, not based on her singing abilities.

‘That way, Željko Joksimović contributes to an even more difficult position of trans people in Serbia, who are exposed to multiple violence and discrimination on daily basis.

‘We also remember a coldblooded murder of Darko Vujanović in June this year in Belgrade.

‘We expect a prompt and efficient reaction of the Commissioner for Protection of Equality and the Serbian Radio-Diffusion Agency, as well as a public apology of Željko Joksimović and Pink [the TV station].’

X Factor Adria is made in Serbian but the show is pan-regional with auditions and contestants from Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia too.

Janevski is from the Republic of Macedonia capital, of Skopje.

You can watch her performance here:

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Ukraine far right party boasts gassing gays in Kyiv

Anti-gay extremist party Svoboda admit targeting peaceful demonstration against Ukraine's 'homosexual propaganda' bill
No thumbnail available

San Diego man sentenced to six months in jail for purposefully spreading HIV to his ex

Thomas Miguel Guerra, who is thought to have had unprotected sex with at least 24 other men, says:  'I am not a monster'
No thumbnail available

Nick Jonas is proud his TV character is gay

'I think one of the sexiest things in a person is their acceptance of all people, so I’m thrilled to play him'
No thumbnail available

Russia ban on foreign gay couples adopting comes into force

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has introduced measures to ensure gay and unmarried straight couples from countries with equal marriage are banned from adopting Russian children
Charter Quay, Kingston

Charter Quay, Kingston

A secure, spacious two bedroom apartment in one of Kingston's prime riverside developments
No thumbnail available

US to announce new measures against Uganda over anti-gay law

President Barack Obama warned President Yoweri Museveni that the law would 'complicate relations' between the US and Uganda
No thumbnail available

Popular Syrian newspaper stirs up homophobia

Selacious article claims lesbians and gays are proliferating due to the Syrian uprising
No thumbnail available

Straight teen bottled for standing up to anti-gay thugs

Jack Young confronted homophobic bullies at Brighton Pride, and was beaten up and bottled for his bravery
No thumbnail available

From puffins to people, why Iceland rocks!

IGLA 2012 heats up Iceland for a memorable travel experience
No thumbnail available

Stonewall offers 17 gay role models to change the way we work

New guide for employers and employees celebrates the power of positive role models and mentors to make workplaces better for lesbian, gay and bi staff