Awesome: A Transgender Male is Winning Men’s Health Model Competition

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aydian dowling in the lead for men's health coverPhoto: Facebook user Aydian Dowling

Well, this is awesome: For the very first time, a transgender male could appear on the cover of Men’s Health. The magazine’s currently holding a competition to find “a guy who is fit and fearless, a doer who gives back and leads by example,” to star on its November 2015 cover–and 27-year-old trans activist Aydian Dowling‘s in the lead.

You might remember Dowling’s face (and bod) from his recreation of Adam Levine‘s iconic nude portrait. The hot snap published in FTM Magazine (and shown below) sent the internet into meltdown mode earlier this year, with many admitting they like Dowling’s take even better than Levine’s.

aydian dowlingPhoto: FTM Magazine

In addition to owning a six pack that rivals the sexiest man alive, Dowling’s also a popular vlogger, and has been documenting his gender transition online since March 2009.

“Finding out that you’re gay is hard enough and now I have to figure out some other stuff,” he said in an early YouTube video. “I don’t think I’m like a man trapped in a woman’s body. I think I’m just a guy and a girl. I’m a girl because I was born with the parts, and a guy because I want to be. I believe in being true to yourself.”

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In the past few days, online voters have given Dowling in a strong lead for Men’s Health‘s Ultimate Guy competition, and it’s looking likely he could become the very first transgender man to grace the glossy magazine’s cover.

“It would be so life affirming to just know that the man that I set out to be is somebody that people think is a good man,” he told the Daily Beast.

aydian dowling men's health coverPhoto: Facebook user Aydian Dowling

Dowling admitted to People that five years ago he never would have posed shirtless in a magazine, but that exercise and bodybuilding helped him gain self-confidence: “I started bodybuilding because I wanted my outer body to feel more masculine like my inner soul does, so I started training and it really just changed my whole life,” he said.

If you want to see Aydian on the cover of Men’s Health, jump onto the competition page and cast your vote.

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