Perhaps Aydian Dowling’s name doesn’t ring a bell, but for an entire community, he’s become a beacon of social inclusion.
Dowling, a transgender vlogger and activist, is currently the frontrunner in Men’s Health‘s “Ultimate Guy Search,” which would earn him the cover. Per the numbers on the board, he appears to be a shoe-in for victory, as he leads the pack by three times the margin of the contestant in second place.
Dowling expressed overwhelming gratitude during an interview with People magazine:
“It’s phenomenal, the amount of support it’s gotten – how many people have re-Tweeted and re-blogged and re-posted and liked and shared and commented and voted…I think I would have laughed if someone said that in five years I was going to be in a competition to be on the cover of Men’s Health magazine.”
It’s the New Yorker’s hope to “break the stereotype of what a man should or shouldn’t be.”
Dowling continued, “I think it would blow minds. I think it would be so affirming to young kids who are lost right now and depressed to see somebody on a magazine, to see if I can do it, they can do it too.”
Voting for Men’s Health‘s “Ultimate Guy Search” ends on June 15. The winner will appear on the November 2015 issue.
Dowling would be the first transgender man to cover a mainstream magazine. Meet him after the jump.