Bangladesh TV hires country’s 1st transgender news anchor

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Dhaka, Bangladesh

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.

Born 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 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.—AP