NEW YORK -- A Bangladeshi activist broke barriers by becoming the first transgender news anchor in her home country.
"At the age of 7 or 8, I was raped from one of my cousins...I lost my childhood forever," said Tashnuva Anan.
For Anan, an actress and transgender activist, acting has always been a form of healing.
"I had to escape from my family, there are lots of ups and downs, but the play and the dance were always with me," Anan 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 Anan plays a queer character named Shou.
"I think it's a great opportunity to learn about South Asian context and to know about South Asian trans life - for me this play is important," Anan said.
Anan moved to New York from Bangladesh about a year and a half ago to pursue her acting career.
But she's 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 acknowledge that yeah, it also could happen," Anan said.
But Anan said those closest to her still are not ready to accept her.
"My family used to tell me you are losing our prestige in front of society," Anan said.
She faced job discrimination and barriers to transgender health care, but she still persevered.
Misha Chowdhury is the writer and director of "Public Obscenities."
"It's an incredibly rare experience and I think there is a lot of work to be done in making space for trans folks of all stripes and especially South Asian trans folks," Chowdhury said.
Anan is also making a difference on the global stage as an activist for the international LGBT and Intersex Association.
But acting is her passion. After she was mistreated for much of her life, she is now finally getting the applause she has dreamed of.
"If you believe in yourself you can create anything that you want to do," Anan said.
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