Bangladesh’s first transgender news anchor makes trailblazing debut

Dhaka, Bangladesh - Tashnuva Anan Shishir marked International Women's Day on Monday by delivering a historic three-minute news bulletin at the privately-run Boishakhi broadcaster. Why? Because the 29-year-old is Bangladesh's first transgender television news presenter!

Tashnuva Anan Shishir, Bangladesh's first transgender television news presenter, made her debut on Monday with a three-minute news bulletin.
Tashnuva Anan Shishir, Bangladesh's first transgender television news presenter, made her debut on Monday with a three-minute news bulletin.  © Screenshot/YouTube/Boishakhi Tv News

Shishir's trailblazing appointment at the Boishakhi broadcaster will hopefully encourage support for the transgender community, which faces rampant discrimination in the Muslim-majority nation, said Saiful Islam, chief news editor of the channel.

Shishir, who is also a theater artist, told dpa on Tuesday she was happy with her inaugural performance, which was planned to coincide with International Women's Day.

"My first experience as a news anchor was exciting! But, I know I’ll have to do better," the 29-year-old said.

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Her boss disagreed, saying Shishir's delivery was as good as the channel's long-time news readers.

Like many other transgender people, she had been bullied and harassed for years.

Tashnuva Anan Shishir's debut on Boishakhi News:

"I never gave up"

She said she left her home in southern Bangladesh and moved to Dhaka when her family began feeling embarrassed by her transition during her early teens.

"But, I never gave up. I tried to pursue my education," she said.

Shishir thanks Boishakhi television for giving her the opportunity to prove her talent after other channels refused to consider her.

"It will help other trans people to get chance according to their skills," said Shishir, who also signed up for two movies this year.

Independent experts say Bangladesh has more than 200,000 transgender people, although the government puts the number at 10,000.

Most face discrimination, social ostracism, and harassment. Many resort to begging and the sex trade in order to survive.

In 2013, the South Asian nation's government began allowing transgender people to legally register as a third gender.

Cover photo: Screenshot/YouTube/Boishakhi Tv News

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