‘I Needed to Show That I Exist’: Transgender Anchor Makes Historical past in Bangladesh

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She went to dwell with an uncle in Narayanganj, however nonetheless presenting as male, she was subjected to the identical verbal abuse. Looking for solutions, she scoured the web. Lastly, she encountered the phrase “transgender,” and issues started to fall into place. Whereas she had not but met different transgender individuals in Bangladesh, she mentioned, she discovered others she may relate to past the nation’s borders.

“It was actually superb,” she mentioned. “I felt that I’m not the one individual on the earth.”

After being accepted into school, she found an affinity for theater, drawn by the prospect of a lifetime of status, respect and admiration. Whereas she pursued roles as feminine characters, a director informed her it was not doable as a result of she had been assigned a male identification at start.

“Bullying and harassment taught me that you need to show your self,” Ms. Shishir mentioned. “You shouldn’t be trapped in a male physique; you need to nurse your womanhood; you need to love your womanhood.”

The emotional toll, fixed humiliation and alienation drove her to relocate to Dhaka. She bought some monetary help from mates — generally dwelling at their houses — and located momentary work. Issues took a darkish flip, Ms. Shishir mentioned, when, with out revenue, she lived in a slum for six months.

For seven days, she mentioned, she had no meals and nearly starved. However issues bought higher.

In 2015, Ms. Shishir declared herself a transgender girl to a transgender group she met by counseling work. She selected the title Tashnuva, which suggests “fortunate” in Bengali, adopted by Anan, or “cloud.” Regularly, she grew out her hair, started carrying make-up and began hormone therapy in 2016.

Ms. Shishir recalled one physician in Dhaka who handled her as if she had a psychosocial dysfunction, doling out tablets that made her sicker by the day. For eight months, her pores and skin grew coarse, darkish circles shaped beneath her eyes, and the therapy left her sleepless. The remedy plunged her into despair, she mentioned.

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