Breaking glass ceilings and paving a new path, a transgender started her journey as a news anchor in Bangladesh on International Women’s Day. Tashnuva Anan Shishir debuted on air on March 8, presenting all with late afternoon news bulletin for a private news channel. Now, the joyous feat is being celebrated by people worldwide.
Going live for a Bengali channel, Boishakhi News to present their 4 pm bulletin, she said on air: This could be revolutionary and create a new dimension in peoples thinking.” The 29-year-old was selected for the job in a recent audition, and after receiving several weeks of intensive training at the media organisation, she finally started her new role, through which she hopes to foster change how the community is perceived in the country.
Ahead of going live for Mondays historic broadcast, Shishir said she was terrified but managed to get through her presentation with much élan and poise. However, moments after the three-minute broadcast ended, she broke into tears.
Watch her first stint as an anchorperson here:
I tried to think of stage dramas I have performed in and follow techniques I have learned there. But I was shaking inside, AFP quoted her saying. As the bulletin was over, her colleagues applauded and cheered, however, she soon bust out in tears, with them comforting her with warm hugs.
I hope that this will bring greater acceptance and change the way people view the transgender community, Boishakhi TVs chief editor, Tipu Alam was quoted by Reuters.
Shishir, who had been sexually abused, bullied and tortured when growing up, left home aged 16, but was able to continue her studies and recently received a scholarship to pursue a Masters in public health at a top local university, earlier this year, DW Bangla reported.
Shishir told Daily Star in an interview ahead of her debut that such initiatives will enable further opportunities for people of LGBTQ community in the country where they are often bullied and mistreated. Lauding the ‘brave’ step taken by Boishakhi TV towards their inclusivity, she added: “There are thousands of ‘Shishir’ waiting for an opportunity to shine. I hope that this will make their journey easier”.
A performer by profession, she has been modelling and acting for a long time. And not just television, Bangladesh will be seeing more of her as this year, she signed up for two films, where she will play the role of a female football coach in one, Dhaka Tribune reported.
However, Shishir is not alone to become a news presenter in the Indian subcontinent. In 2014, a Coimbatore-based transgender become a trailblazer for her community becoming the first transgender news anchor in India for a private Tamil satellite channel in Tamil Nadu. In 2018, Pakistan too got it’s first transgender anchor for a private TV channel Kohenoor News.