Men’s Health magazine is on the search for the “Ultimate Guy” — someone who is ideally "fit and fearless, a doer who gives back and leads by example" — to put on the cover of its November issue.
Last year, Noah Galloway, a veteran who lost his left arm above the elbow and left leg above the knee during the Iraq war, garnered the most votes in the online poll, winning the competition.
This year, it could be a 27-year-old transgender man named Aydian Dowling, whose photo imitation in FTM magazine of Adam Levine’s famous Cosmo UK nude photoshoot went viral. Over the past few days, online voters have taken him to the top of the polls, giving him over 34,500 votes as of this morning. The contestant in second place is just shy of 9,000 votes.
But Dowling is much more than just a beautiful face attached to a rock-hard body — which, by the way, he got from a "body-building style routine," as well as some "light cardio" every day, and "hikes around the Pacific North West" with his wife, Jenilee. He has devoted his life to helping other transgender people. He has been documenting his transition on YouTube for five years, he runs Point 5cc, a clothing company that donates to transition procedures, and he has a YouTube channel called Beefheads Fitness that helps transgender people get in shape.
"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 in regards to the possibility of winning the cover. "To break those stereotypes, but still be a man. Feel pride in masculinity, but not putting down femininity. That would be so important to me."
So far, Dowling said, he's only been met with open arms. He's decided to avoid those opposed to the idea of a trans man flexing on the cover of Men's Health. Understandably, he'd rather just focus on the positive.
"I’m feeling proud of our community coming together,” he told the Daily Beast. "This was just another competition, but our community said, 'Hey, we’re taking this thing and we’re making it ours. We’re running with it. We’re going to take it and turn it into something because we want it to be something.'
"I’m completely in awe and humbled by how much love and support I’ve gotten."
We're really hoping to see Dowling make history. Cast your vote here for this very deserving candidate.