Photography by Ryan Pfluger at Milk Studios, New York, on October 6, 2015. Styling by Michael Cook. Hair: Naivasha at Exclusive Artists. Makeup: Angela DiCarlo.
For Aydian Ethan Dowling, the joys of June 26, 2015, were twofold. On the same day the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, Dowling was welcomed into the Men's Health Ultimate Guy contest, becoming the first trans man to join a mainstream men's magazine competition. He went on to become a top-five finalist, landed the cover of FTM magazine, appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and watched his clothing company, Point5cc.com, "grow enormously in sales." Looking ahead for the queer community, he cites mental health as a key issue. "It's important that we get doctors and mental health workers educated on the transgender experience," Dowling says. "I hope the visibility of my story impacts that in a positive way."