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Bangladesh TV employs 1st transgender news anchor

Bangladesh TV employs 1st transgender news anchor

Bangladesh TV employs 1st transgender news anchor

A Bangladeshi satellite television station has hired the country’s first transgender news anchor, saying it hopes the appointment will help “change” society.

Tashnuva Anan Shishir, who previously worked as a rights activist and actress, debuted on Dhaka-based Boishakhi TV on Monday, which was also International Women’s Day.

She read a three-minute news bulletin and after finishing the broadcast cried as her colleagues applauded and cheered.

Born with the name Kamal Hossain Shishir, she said she found in her early teens that she was stuck in a man’s body and behaved like a woman.

She said family members, relatives and neighbours started teasing her and she was bullied and sexually exploited.

Her father stopped talking to her and afterwards she left her family home, Shishir said.

Shishir moved from her family’s house in a southern coastal district to live a solitary life in the capital, where she underwent hormone therapy, worked for charities and acted with a local theatre group.

In January, she began studying public health at a Dhaka university, which she is continuing alongside her job at the television station.

Bangladesh officially has more than 10,000 transgender people, but activists say the actual number is much higher.

The LGBT community faces social isolation, sexual abuse and other forms of harassment.

Finding employment is very difficult, and many live by begging or selling sex.

Since 2013, the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has allowed transgender people to identify themselves as a separate gender and they were given voting rights in 2018.

Some changes are already visible.

In November, a charity group opened Bangladesh’s first Islamic school for the transgender community.

Boishakhi TV said it wanted to be part of the changes and has also hired a second transgender person in its drama department.

The station’s Deputy Managing Director Tipu Alam Milon said he hoped that the appointments of transgender staff would help “change” the “attitude of society.”

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