Trans man set to be first to grace Men’s Health Magazine cover
It’s 2015 and the fight for transgender rights is happening on a number of fronts – and while some Virginia area schools face challenges over bathroom policies, one of the largest men’s fitness magazines still in publication could cross an important line for the cause.
“As a Transgender Male, having a healthy body and mind is my ultimate goal to find peace within my soul,” wrote Aydian Dowling on his application to be Men’s Fitness ‘Ultimate Guy.’ ”Although I may always have some kind of battle with my body, I continue to work everyday for a happy peace within.”
According to the The Ultimate Guy Search website, the contest is a nationwide search for “the guy who possesses all of the qualities that make up today’s well rounded, active, health conscious and thoughtful guy.” Men’s Health judges look for a fella who is “fit and fearless; a doer who gives back and leads by example.”
Dowling’s meteoric rise to the top of this cover-dude contest is significant for a number of reasons. For one, he’s in first place by about 26,000 votes, and he’s a trans man – something Men’s Fitness has never really touched on before.
“Having a trans person on the cover would tell people that no matter who you are, you can be the man you want to be,” he told Men’s Health in a profile story the publication ran online after he started to climb in the polls. “It’s fully possible if you put the time and effort and balance it takes to find the man in you.”
A lot of Dowling’s success, besides his totally bang’n bod, can probably be linked to his successful online persona as an active youtube fitness guru.
Check out one of his videos below:
Dowling has not been body shy, with images of him shirtless or nearly-naked going viral numerous times (below image via Out Magazine)
Dowling detailed his transition and early life pretty extensively for Men’s Health, and its something many trans folks should be able to relate to:
At 13, Dowling developed a crush on a girl, and at 16, had come out as a lesbian to friends and family. By 21, he was dressing in masculine clothes, but it wasn’t until his then-girlfriend asked the pivotal question—“Have you ever wanted to be a boy?”—that Dowling gave any thought to being transgender.
“I didn’t want to be trans,” says Dowling. “I was scared, and I thought being a lesbian was hard enough.” But one night, as he stared at his pink bedroom walls and the pile of men’s clothes crowding his floor, he reached his tipping point.
“If you removed the color from my walls, you’d think you were in a boy’s room. So that’s when I broke down. I was sick of not living my life just because this is the one I was given. Becoming myself is what made me more confident.”
In October 2009, Dowling began his first dose of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and since then, has injected 0.5 cc’s of testosterone in his muscles every week. The changes were radical at first—“I never knew how hairy men were!” he says—but they never struck him as odd, or foreign. “It just felt like I had finally finished growing up. I simply grew up as a female, and transitioned to a male.”
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