A woman who survived bullying, assault and suicide attempts has made her debut as Bangladesh’s first transgender news reader.
Tashnuva Anana Shishir, 29, delivered a three-minute news bulletin on a private TV station on Monday.
Shishir spent her life determined to study and advance her career so she could speak her mind, she says.
“Today I got that platform,” she said.
The country has about 1.5 million people and they face discrimination and violence, with some forced to survive by begging or working in the sex trade.
She said she realised in her early teens that she was transgender but says she has faced “mental torture” as well as sexual harassment.
She felt ashamed that her family were also harassed and says her father has stopped speaking to her.
When she fleeing her home town, she lived alone in the capital Dhaka and in Narayanganj. She went on to gain a Masters in Public Health in Dhaka.
“I never left school. My sixth sense always told me to keep studying. If I continue reading, I will be able to go somewhere,” she said.
“I continued my studies despite enduring hundreds of insults day after day. All I had in mind is that I should continue my study. ”
A spokesperson for Boishakhi TV, Julfikar Ali Manik, said it was a “historic step” and that the channel was determine was determined to give her a chance despite the risk of backlash from some viewers.