12 December 2011

Transgender Reality TV Show in Bangladesh

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The first reality show for transgender people is to be launched by a Bangladesh TV channel in an effort to break down widespread suspicion of the country's "hijra" community.

The ATN Bangla show, "Amra Tomadery" (We are for you), is now accepting applications to be one of around 40 contestants who will showcase their dancing and acting skills to win audience votes.

"The aim is to end the taboos that are associated with hijras," the show's producer Mokaddem Babu told AFP.

"Hijras are our sons or our daughters, yet we treat them as if they are not part of us. The show wants to break down these barriers," Babu said.

Across South Asia, hijra communities of transvestites, eunuchs and asexual people are among the most marginalised groups in traditionally conservative societies.

The new show is the latest in a series of attempts by both the Bangladeshi government and the private sector to integrate hijras -- who number around half a million people nationwide -- into mainstream society.

It will be recorded in January and air in February, Babu said, adding that major Bangladeshi music and film stars would be on the judging panel.

In October more than 1,000 hijras rallied in the capital Dhaka for a government-sponsored demonstration to raise awareness about their rights.

ATN Bangla, the country's most-watched privately-owned channel, last week also started a late-night drama serial about hijras.



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