The Life & Times of Aydian Dowling

aydian dowling, aydian dowling transgender, transgender men's health

Aydian Dowling, an American transgender man from Long Island, New York, became the first transgender to bid on the cover of Men’s Health magazine. While Aydian didn’t officially win the cover, the 28 year old body builder, activist and YouTube vlogger was featured on a special edition cover of Men’s Health, but was given the cover of Gay Times. He was also the first transgender man to ever be on the cover of the international gay magazine. Aydian has been on programs such as The Ellen Show and has a strong social media following.

Before all the fame, Aydian came out as a lesbian in his teen years and struggled with mental health issues and bouts of depression. He thought that he wouldn’t live to see 27 and had already checked it in his mind that he was going to commit suicide before that time. He knew that he was different from the age of eight when he had a non-romantic crush on his teacher. For most of society, a girl wanting to be around another girl all the time, especially a teacher, other than as a friend was odd, so it made sense that Aydian would see that he was different from the other girls in his class in this way. It wasn’t until a girl he’d been dating asked if he had ever wanted to become a man that he started to identify as a transgender man. He has been transitioning for 6 years so far and posts progress on his YouTube channel ALionsFear along with his vlog and workout videos. The first time that Aydian was recognized as a male by a stranger was at a 7-eleven and it was a defining moment for him, Aydian describing it as “It was like all my Christmases had come at once, like living on cloud nine,” in an interview with GT (Gay Times).

In April of 2015, Aydian posed similar to Adam Levine’s 2011 Cosmopolitan photo in order to help raise awareness for testicular cancer which affect 20,000 men every year in the US. After the release of this photo, Ballard, the publisher of FTM where Aydian was featured on the cover, told the Huffington post: “We’ve received almost unanimous support of it and our attempts at creating visibility for the trans masculine spectrum. We by no means mean to say that this is what all transgender males look like, but this is what one of us looks like and it’s no different from our cisgender counterparts. We’ve had comments saying ‘he doesn’t look trans’ which brings up a great point on what does trans even look like?” This shines a light on how little people know about transgender people. As if the people telling Ballard that Aydian doesn’t “look tran” do not fully believe that he is, in fact, a transgender man.

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