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Every year hundreds of very fit men vie to be on the cover of Men's Health magazine, so on the surface Aydian Dowling's quest to be on the cover wouldn't even raise an eyebrow. Yet, what Dowling is attempting to do is historic as he would be the first transgender person to ever grace the magazine's cover.
While the contest doesn't end until June 21st it looks like Dowling is going to cruise to the title—he is more than 50,000 votes ahead as we speak. As recently as five years ago it would be impossible to imagine a transgender person accomplishing this feat let alone there being such an overwhelming tide of support.
"It's crazy," Dowling told Peoplein an interview. "It's phenomenal the amount of support it's gotten—how many people have re-Tweeted and re-blogged and re-posted and liked and shared and commented and voted."
As we looked through Dowling's Instagram we couldn't help but notice all of his ink. Dowling clearly is a big fan of lions (ALionsFears is the name of Dowling's YouTube channel that documents his life as a transgendered person) and has multiple tattoos of the big cat. In particular the large piece on his shoulder tattooed by Wendy Kai of Eugene, Oregon stands out.
While it would be a major accomplishment for the transgender community if—we're still saying "if" even though it appears to be a done deal—Dowling is able to land the coveted Men's Health cover it would only be the latest of many gestures he has made to give back. In addition to the ALionsFears YouTube channel Dowling has founded a clothing company (Point 5cc) specifically geared towards the transgendered and has taken the time to train other transgendered men looking to become more physically fit in his home town.
Flip through this gallery and see why Dowling is making such a compelling argument to land on the Men's Health cover.