Aydian Dowling, you have our vote.
The US Men’s Health Ultimate Guy Search is in full swing, and the forerunner is a 27-year-old with the requisite rippling abs, perky pecs and killer guns, as well as a smattering of tatts and a three-day growth.
But one thing sets this guy apart: He used to be a woman.
Aydian Dowling, a transgender man from Oregon, is currently outstripping his closest competitor by a factor of more than three — and redefining what it means to be a man in the process. If he wins, which is looking pretty likely, he’ll be the first trans man to ever grace the cover of the men’s mag.
Dowling is a vlogger and transgender rights activist who has been documenting his transition for about five years.
“I think I would have laughed if someone said that in five years I was going to be in a competition to be on the cover of Men’s Health magazine,” Dowling told People.
“I would be like, ‘No way would you be putting me shirtless on a magazine!'”
Dowling used bodybuilding throughout his transition to “feel more masculine,” and now he’s, well, pretty smokin’ hot actually. But the competition is about more than muscle.
According to Men’s Health, the Ultimate Guy Search seeks to find a man who “possesses all of the qualities that make up today’s well rounded, active, health conscious and thoughtful guy.”
Dowling has various social media platforms aimed at helping young transgender people.
Related content: How to address the trans community without being a douchebag.
“I want to break the stereotype of what a man should or shouldn’t be,” he says. “I think it would blow minds. I think it would be so affirming to young kids who are lost right now and depressed to see somebody on a magazine, to see if I can do it, they can do it too.”
Whether or not Dowling becomes the November 2015 cover model of Men’s Health, he’s been encouraged by the huge outpouring of public support.
“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,” he says.
Dowling lives in Eugene, Oregon, with his wife Jennilee.
Read more: He gave birth. And she provided the sperm.