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Tashnuva: I had to break so many barriers

  • Published at 05:37 am March 8th, 2021
Tashnuva Anan Shishir Dhaka Tribune

Been involved with modelling and acting for a long time, Tashnuva has also recently signed up for two upcoming movies

Tashnuva Anan Shishir, Bangladesh's first-ever transgender newscaster, said that her journey in becoming independent has been marred with years of suffering and oppression.

“My success didn’t come overnight. I had to go through a lot of sufferings and oppressions for so many years to reach here,” said Tashnuva Anan Shishir, the first-ever transgender news anchor in Bangladesh, while talking to Dhaka Tribune.

Tashnuva began her journey as a news anchor at a private TV station, Baishakhi Television on Monday, when the world observes International Women’s Day. 

“I had to overcome far more barriers than a regular person to get this opportunity,” she said while sharing her troublesome journey to become a newscaster.

She said she had to put in an extra effort to prove her capability as she didn’t get any advantage like normal boys and girls. 

‘’I worked as a voice artist for so long. So, my pronunciation was almost right,’’ she added.

Tashnuva got in touch with Baishakhi TV following a suggestion from renowned director Chayanika Chowdhury.

“When I went there [Baishakhi TV], they asked me for an audition. I grabbed the opportunity without a second thought,” she said, adding that she tried the same with several other television channels, however, no one gave her a chance.

Tashnuva Anan Shishir | Dhaka Tribune

Despite glitches during the auditions, the TV station gave her a chance and eventually she was able to achieve the confidence of the newsroom.

‘’I was always searching for a trigger point which will add a new dimension in people's thoughts,” she said, replying to a question.

Talking about her life, Tashnuva said she had been bullied and harassed for many years due her feminine voice and body language as she was born as a male and named Kamal Hossain Shishir. 

“Those who did not pursue studies, their lives are more difficult than mine. I walked through a path that was shackled by many obstacles,” she explains.

‘’Whenever I went out of my home, I was bullied. Then going to school was a battle. Where to sit, with the boys or girls?” she went back to her painful journey. 

“Then, when I was in the final year of post-graduation studies, my hormone began to develop. My hair was getting longer. So, I stopped attending classes. A teacher of my department described me as mentally sick in front of the entire class,” Tashnuva said with a sad tone.

Also Read - Tashnuva Anan becomes Bangladesh's first transgender news anchor

Bombarded with so many unpleasant remarks from all around, she said she considers herself very lucky and privileged because her parents were there to take care of her, leaving everything aside. 

However, after her transformation, no one was ready to accept her and severed ties with her.

Tashnuva has been involved with modelling and acting for a long time. In 2007, she began her acting career with the theatre troupe Natua.

She has been also an active member of the theatre troupe BotTola for more than two years. 

‘’Theatre is the vitality of my survival which helped me to discover Tashnuva. Helped to explore Tashnuva. My theatre is my BotTola,’’ she says.

At a very young age, her elder sister admitted her in dance school, but Tashnuva was barred from continuing dancing. 

Tashnuva Anan Shishir | Dhaka Tribune

“When my family stopped the dance lessons, I made up my mind on what I want to do and become what I want to become. 'This is my life and I'll go by this way',’’ she said while thanking her elder sister for introducing her to the world of dancing.

Recently, she also signed up for two movies, where the audience will find her playing the role of a detective in Anonno Mamun’s film “Koshai,” and as a female football coach in Syed Shahriar’s cinema “Goal.”

“I am not saying that there should be media reports about me . But the thing is, the people of this [our] community remain hopeless for ages. So, it's important that the people know about this. The struggles of a woman is different, the struggle of a man is different, but none is like mine. So, it's important to tell people to normalize this issue,” she added.

Tashnuva completed her graduation and post-graduation. Earlier this year, Tashnuva received a scholarship to pursue Masters of Public Health (MPH) in BRAC University.

One day, she believes, no one will be surprised anymore after seeing a trans-woman anchoring news. She wants to inspire other transgenders to become independent, but for that, she said the government needs to ensure proper support and opportunities for the community.

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