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Transgender Saiful Islam (R) works in the make-up department of Bangladesh's largest private television channel ATN Bangla in Dhaka on September 8, 2012. Photo courtesy: AFP
Job training transforms lives of Bangladesh transgenders

in BANGLADESH, 22/09/2012

A love for lipstick and eyeliner meant a lifetime of discrimination for Saiful Islam, until a transgender training scheme in Bangladesh helped bring him hard-won acceptance and land him his dream job.

Many transgender people in south Asia, where they are known as hijras, are thrown out by their families and forced to scrape a living through begging, prostitution or drug dealing.

But each morning, Islam pulls on a pair of low-cut jeans and a tight T-shirt, applies his own make-up, and heads off to work in Dhaka at the offices of ATN Bangla, Bangladesh's largest private television channel.

"The best part of my job here is that my colleagues treat me like any other human being. For a hijra this is a great achievement," Islam, who started his new career eight months ago, told AFP.

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