In Bangladesh, Tashnuva Anan is a known name being an actor and transgender rights activist. Being a community representative of the transgenders, she has been working for the transgender people during the difficult time of coronavirus pandemic. By forming a platform with contribution from the community members and local philanthropists, Tashnuva has provided masks, sanitizers and food to the members of the marginalized transgender community. For her continuous and dedicated services to the community, Manusher Jonno Foundation gave their prestigious ‘Manobadhikar Podok 2020 (Human Rights Medal 2020).
Since her childhood, Tashnuva was fond of dance and acting. Kolkata’s famous filmmaker Rituporno Ghosh was one of her best sources of inspirations in becoming an actor. Recently, she has been signed in two movie projects in Bangladesh. Popular director Ananya Mamun has signed her in his upcoming film Kosai (Botcher), while film director Syed Shahriar has signed her in his film named Dour (Run). In Kosai, Tashnuva will play the character of a detective officer while in Dour, her character is of a football coach.
But life has not been smooth for a transgender Tashnuva Anan. She has faced too many obstacles in Bangladesh’s conservative society, where people are yet to accept the members of the transgender community. In her words she said: “I have faced so many obstacles in this patriarchal society. We have so many transphobias in this country. Despite having skills and experience, no one was willing to cast me in their films or dramas, mostly because they did not feel comfortable working with a transgender. When I work in the theater, my co-artists, particularly girls were unwilling to use the green room (dressing room) together with me in changing costumes”.
Tashnuva and members of the transgender community also face unfortunate bulling, insult and humiliation in numerous ways. In some case, people consider them as objects of sex. Moreover, there is no sustainable earning source for the transgender people in Bangladesh, although in the recent years, things have started changing as government and some of the private organizations and NGOs are continuing activities for helping the members of the transgender community in their economic development.
According to Tashnuva Anan, in Bangladesh, transgenders are still recognized as Hizra and there is no real sign of considering them as transgenders or third genders, although Bangladesh government had officially granted them the recognition few years ago.
While gradually establishing herself as an artist in Bangladesh, Tashnuva is doing is Masters from Brac JPG School of Public Health. On completion of her Masters, she wants to pursue PhD and also wants to regularly work in the media. In her words: “I want to break the stereo from the society. Media is a strong medium for changing anything in the society. Through my performance, I want to be a changemaker and contribute to my underprivileged transgender society in Bangladesh. I also want to play the role of a bridge-builder between transgenders around the world”.
Members of the transgender community in Bangladesh and the world truly deserve support for establishing themselves as respectable members of the societies.