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Bangladesh to air transgender reality TV show

Thursday 08 Dec 2011
A Bangladeshi television channel said today it was launching the country’s first reality show for transgender people in an effort to break down widespread prejudice against the country’s “hijra” community, AFP reports.

Bangladesh Hijra

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 said.

“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,” he 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, Mr Babu said, adding that major Bangladeshi music and film stars would be on the judging panel.

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