Men’s Health May Soon Have Its First Transgender Cover Model


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Transgender bodybuilder Aydian Dowling is blowing away the competition in an online model search conducted by Men’s Health looking for a man to grace the cover of an upcoming issue. If he wins, Dowling will be the first transgender man to appear on the cover of the popular men’s fitness magazine.

You may remember Dowling, 27, as the buff chap who recreated Adam Levine’s iconic nude photo that appeared in Cosmo UK. That image spread like crazy across the Internet—which could explain his more than 15,000-point lead in the Men’s Health cover competition. (Tally taken at publish time.)

The contest is seeking “the guy who possesses all of the qualities that make up today’s well-rounded, active, health-conscious and thoughtful guy. … a guy who is fit and fearless; a doer who gives back and leads by example.”

“Those are qualities that I do my best to instill in myself, and I always to try to lead by example,” Dowling told Fusion, explaining that he does cardio every day and lifts weights five days a week.

Dowling also maintains an empowering YouTube channel geared toward encouraging trans men who want to get in shape. “[The viewers] have greatly progressed and I feel very proud to see their self confidence grow. … I do nothing but support them and show technique, but drive is contagious.”

Though he seems to have all the qualifications that fit the contest, he told Fusion that, he’s prepared for the chance that Men’s Health would disqualify him for being trans. “It’s sad and scary to think that even if I place  No. 1 in this competition it’s a possibility that they may just say we’re not letting you compete.”

I wouldn’t bet on that happening, though. A rep from the magazine told Fusion that “the Ultimate Men’s Health Guy contest is open to all men,” and the final selection is based on criteria found at mhguysearch.com, which doesn’t say anything about having been assigned male at birth. “We have seen an increase in votes for Aydian in the past 24 hours or so and he currently stands at the top of the leaderboard,” the rep said.

You can continue to vote for him through June 21st here.