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Bangladesh’s first transgender news presenter goes on screen March 8

Tashnuva Anan Shishir, already renowned as a model and social worker, is all set to become Bangladesh’s first ever transgender Positive News Media anchor. Breaking new ground for transgender women in society, she’ll be seen presenting a regular news bulletin for the first time at a private satellite television channel marking the International Women’s Day on March 8.

The recruiting channel Boishakhi TV in a statement said, “Tashnuva Anan Shishir will start her career in Positive News Media at Boishakhi TV from March 8, the International Women’s Day.”

Reports say the TV channel came up with this maiden initiative to not only mark the International Women’s Day, but also in celebration of the country’s 50 years of independence on ensuing March 26.

Talking about her appointment as a Positive News Media presenter, Shishir said she was overwhelmed with the opportunity. “I cannot express how overwhelming this is, for myself and my community. Individuals from my community have been bullied and harassed for long, and only exposure like this can help create room for the development of our people in the society.”

Television news presenters are taken very close to their hearts by Bangladeshis, often becoming trusted voices on the strength of regularly appearing on screen and relaying information held in high regard, i.e. the news. If the aim is to normalise the presence of ‘trans’ folk in society, few positions could be more potent.

While sharing her recruitment process, she said, “The audition and selection process was as normal and usual as it has always been for other presenters. The entire process was rigorous, and I am grateful to Boishakhi TV for selecting me.”

“With this kind of positive approach and exposure for individuals like me, I believe our society will thrive towards community sustainability and community development,” she told.

She said her dream is to build a team with aspiring dancers, actors and media personalities from the transgender community to raise awareness about the obstacles they face. “I want to help these individuals build sustainable livelihoods. We need to prioritise people’s capabilities over their gender identities.”

Today’s Tashnuva challenged the identity of Kamal Hossain Shishir, her old self –  and eventually came out as a trans-woman during her twenties, alongside starting her solo journey with social works, dance and theatre. Apart from her role as a model and social worker, Shishir has also been into acting for long. She began her acting career in 2007 with the theatre troupe Natua. She has been an active member of the renowned theatre troupe BotTala for more than two years and appeared in many notable productions. Recently, she has signed up for two movies and will be playing a female football coach in one of the films. Shishir is also known as a dancer and a voice artiste.

As a social worker, Shishir has volunteered for organizations including Sangat – A Feminist Network, Roopban, Oboyob, and Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC). She has worked as the project officer in Bandhu Social Welfare Society. She was also the Executive Officer for the National Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh.

Academically, Tashnuva Anan Shishir has recently earned her scholarships to pursue higher studies in the Master of Public Health (MPH) program at the James P Grant School of Public Health (JPGSPH), Brac University, along with another iconic transgender woman in the country Ho Chi Minh Islam.


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