Bodybuilder and trans activist Aydian Dowling is poised to become Men's Health's first transgender cover model.
The super hunky Dowling, 27, is currently leading Men's Health's "Ultimate Guy Search," the fitness magazine's online model search, which is looking for a man "who is fit and fearless, a doer who gives back and leads by example," to cover its November 2015 issue. As of this writing, Dowling has 22,726 votes - more than two-and-a-half times the number of votes the man in second place has.
In an interview with Fusion, Dowling, who resides in Eugene, Oregon with his wife of three years, said he agreed he has the qualities Men's Health is looking for in a cover model.
"Those are qualities that I do my best to instill in myself, and I always to try to lead by example," he said.
When it comes to working out, the trans activist does cardio every day and lifts weights five times a week. He added that the Men's Health contest gives him a boost of confidence.
"It's just so cool to know that there's people out there who really want the transgender community to feel included in the world," he said.
Dowling said he had some reservations about the contest, worried that he could be disqualified because he is a trans man.
"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," he told Fusion.
But a spokesperson for Men's Health told Fusion: "The Ultimate Men's Health Guy contest is open to all men...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 with more than 13k votes."
There have been several people showing support for Dowling. A Tumblr urging people to vote for the bodybuilder that also contained a link to the Men's Health contest has been shared over 154,000 times.
"It's been crazy and amazing. I definitely was not expecting all the support, but I'm so happy and proud of the community for using its loud voice and realizing that we really could do it," Dowling told the Daily Beast. "We're banding together and this is us. We exist and we should be represented in some way in mainstream."
He also told the Daily Beast about what it would mean to him if he does win the contest and cover the fitness magazine.
"To break those stereotypes, but still be a man. Feel pride in masculinity, but not putting down femininity. That would be so important to me," he said.
Dowling, who is the founder of a chest binder company for trans men, first came to public attention in February when a picture of him recreating Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine's infamous photograph where he posed 95% naked went viral.
Dowling also has a YouTube channel, BeefHeads Fitness, to help trans people get fit and live a healthy lifestyle.
You can vote for Dowling in the "Ultimate Guy Search" by clicking here.
The contest ends on June 21.
Last year's winner was Noah Galloway, a solider who lost his left arm and leg after an improvised explosive device exploded.
From our media partner EDGE