Who is Aydian Dowling?
Dowling is a 27-year-old trans body builder, activist and vlogger from New York.
He was at the centre of a campaign backed by thousands to get him on the cover of Men’s Health magazine as part of a competition in 2015. He didn’t quite win, and was instead included along with other men on the a special edition cover, so Gay Times decided to give him the cover he missed out on.
Editor Darren Scott believes Dowling is the first ever trans man to be featured on the cover of a gay magazine internationally.
Mr Scott told The Independent: ”Aydian's story has interested me ever since I saw he was in the running to be a cover star for Men's Health – everyone was talking about him. So I'm delighted, and honoured, that he agreed to tell his story to GT, and that he's the first trans man on the cover of not only our magazine, but that he's the first trans man on the cover of an international gay magazine. It's not just the fact that Aydian looks fantastic – I wish I had his drive to work out – but that his story is so interesting, and so beautifully told. It's a touching story and I'm so glad we're able to help get his message out there properly.”
The pioneers of LGBT rights in 2015
The pioneers of LGBT rights in 2015
1/6 Justice Anthony Kennedy and the other Supreme Court Justices who legalised same sex marriage in the US
The US Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage is all 50 states of America in June, splitting 5-4 in favour. Writing the majority opinion, Justice Kennedy said gay people hope not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions.
2/6 Caitlyn Jenner
After she revealed her new self in an interview and cover with Vanity Fair magazine in June, the former olympian quickly became the most famous trans person in the world.
3/6 Cara Delevigne
The former model said she identified as bisexual in an interview with Vogue in July.
4/6 Ellen Page
The openly gay actress confronted Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz at a campaign rally in Iowa in August over laws that discriminate against the LGBT community.
5/6 iO Tillett Wright
The artist and Instagram star began the Self Evident Truths project in 2015 to photograph everyone who doesn’t identify as “100% straight”. Famously it featured Johnny Depp’s teenage daughter Lily Rose who said she fell “somewhere on the vast spectrum” and singer Selena Gomez who addressed rumours she was dating Cara Delevigne.
6/6 Ruby Rose
Australian born Rose was one of the very first celebrities to come out as genderfluid. She was hailed for giving it a public platform a the MTV Europe Music Awards in October when she welcomed “ladies and gentlemen, and everyone in-between” in her introduction.
You may already recognise him
Dowling’s campaign to get him on the cover of Men’s Health went viral and he has appeared on programmes such as The Ellen Show. He recorded his transition from day one on his YouTube channel and has a strong social media following, amassing close to 100,000 followers on Instagram.
The first time he was identified by a stranger as male was a defining moment for him
He told GT: “A woman behind a counter of a 7-Eleven said, ‘I can serve you over here, sir.’ It was the first time a complete stranger was seeing the real me, and I was living off that high for quite a while. It was like all my Christmases had come at once, like I was living on cloud nine. That must’ve been the best damn stick of gum I’ve ever bought.“
His 'top' surgery was his first ever operation
“It was the first time I was going to be ‘put under’ and go through any kind of surgery in my life, and that alone was terrifying. But the joy and feeling of being able to identify more with my body weighed much heavier than anything else."
You can read more about Dowling by downloading the digital issue of Gay Times here.