Bangladesh TV hires country's 1st transgender news anchor

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Bangladesh's first transgender news anchor Tashnuva Anan Shishir reads news bulletin , in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Tuesday, March 9, 2021. A Bangladeshi satellite television station has signed up the South Asian county's first transgender news anchor with a hope to remove the deeply-rooted social stigma they face. Shishir, who previously worked as a rights activist and an actor, appeared before audience on Monday after her appointment recently as the day coincided with the International Women's Day. She made the debut by reading a three-minute daily news bulletin on Dhaka-based Boishakhi TV. (AP Photo/Al-emrun Garjon)

DHAKA – 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, International Women’s Day. She read a three-minute news bulletin, and after finishing cried as her colleagues applauded and cheered.

“I was very nervous, I was feeling so much emotional, but I had in my mind that I must overcome this ordeal, this final test,” Shishir, 29, said in an interview Tuesday.

In her early teens, she began to live publicly her female identity. She said family members, relatives and neighbors started teasing her and she was bullied and sexually exploited.

She started feeling that it was impossible to continue living and attempted suicide, she said.

The worst thing that happened was that her father stopped talking to her, saying she was the reason that her family was losing face, Shishir said.

“I left home,” she said.

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