A transgender man is in the running to be the next cover model for Men’s Health magazine. But, should he be allowed to win?
Aydian Dowling, a 27-year-old from Eugene, Oregon, made the decision to sign up for the “Ultimate Guys” competition, in which the magazine will select a winner to appear on the cover of their November issue. Currently, Aydian is number one on the leaderboard, with 38,073 votes.
Dowling was born a female but realized that he identified more with being a male several years ago, and has been taking hormone replacement therapy since 2009.
“I was very unhappy and depressed before,” Aydian told Today during a recent interview. “And pretty much once I got some therapy and help and started taking hormones, my life started to fall into place. My core is the same person, but my confidence has grown tremendously.”
Working out and hitting the gym has become an everyday part of Dowling’s life. He said he started body building and exercising to create a more masculine look.
“I realized, hey, if I hit the gym, I can get more in tune with my body, I can start to change it to make it look more masculine,” he said. “So once I identified as trans, I started working out. I wanted my outer body to match how I felt inside.”
Dowling says one of his favorite ways to stay fit is by hiking with his wife, Jenilee, around the Pacific Northwest.
“Although I also love my day to day routines, smashing through thresholds and sculpting the body, there is nothing quite like the beauty being outside can do to a person,” Aydian wrote on his profile for the Men’s Health contest. “I always have this sense of discovery and drive through my hikes that is unlike anything in the gym or the track.”
“As a Transgender Male, having a healthy body and mind is my ultimate goal to find peace within my soul,” he added. “Although I may always have some kind of battle with my body, I continue to work everyday for a happy peace within.”
The contest entry period runs through June 21. At that point, a winner will be chosem based on reader votes as well as criteria including physical fitness and healthy living.
Do you think a transgender male should be allowed to win the contest? Leave your comments below.
[Photo via Facebook / Aydian Dowling]