‘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. Trying to find 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 particular person 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 advised her it was not attainable as a result of she had been assigned a male id at start.

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

The emotional toll, fixed humiliation and alienation drove her to relocate to Dhaka. She acquired some monetary help from buddies — typically dwelling at their houses — and located non permanent 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 virtually starved. However issues acquired higher.

In 2015, Ms. Shishir declared herself a transgender girl to a transgender neighborhood she met by counseling work. She selected the title Tashnuva, which implies “fortunate” in Bengali, adopted by Anan, or “cloud.” Step by step, 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 capsules that made her sicker by the day. For eight months, her pores and skin grew coarse, darkish circles fashioned beneath her eyes, and the therapy left her sleepless. The remedy plunged her into melancholy, she mentioned.

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