NEW YORK — An activist from Bangladesh has broken barriers to become her country’s first transgender news anchor.

“I was raped by one of my cousins ​​when I was 7-8 years old… I lost my childhood forever,” said Tashnuva Anan.

For Annan, an actress and transgender activist, acting has always been a form of therapy.

“I had to run away from my family, there were many ups and downs, but the game and the dance were always with me,” Annan said.

The Bangladeshi transgender woman made her Off-Broadway debut in Public Obscenities at SoHo Rep this spring.

The play explores queer and trans life in Kolkata, India, and Annan plays a queer character named Shaw.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to learn about the South Asian context and to learn about the South Asian trans life — this play is important to me,” Annan said.

Annan moved to New York from Bangladesh about a year and a half ago to pursue her acting career.

But she is no stranger to the camera.

She made history in 2021 when she became the first transgender news anchor in Bangladesh.

“This is the first time in Bangladesh that people have recognized that yes, this can also happen,” Annan said.

But Annan said those closest to her are still not ready to accept her.

“My family told me that you are losing our prestige in society,” Annan said.

She faced workplace discrimination and barriers to transgender health care, but she persevered.

Misha Chowdhury is the writer and director of Public Indecency.

“It’s an incredibly rare experience, and I think there’s going to be a lot of work to make room for trans people of all stripes, especially South Asian trans people,” Chowdhury said.

Annan is also making a difference on the world stage as an activist for the International LGBT and Intersex Association.

But acting is her passion. After being mistreated most of her life, she finally got the applause she dreamed of.

“If you believe in yourself, you can create anything you want,” Annan said.

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