Aydian Dowling is one of most prominent faces in the trans visibility movement. After he replicated Adam Levine's famous Cosmopolitan UK naked shoot, Dowling became one of the most-talked about people on the Internet. He's rightly using that momentum to move the conversation forward.
When he stopped by The Ellen Show on Tuesday, Dowling talked about coming out as first a lesbian, then as transgender. "I came out to my mother first [as transgender], and I felt a lot of guilt with that," he told DeGeneres. "She had two sons already, and I felt like I was robbing her of her only daughter."
Dowling went on to say that he was afraid to come out to his father, who he isn't as close to, fearing that his identifying as trans would sundered their relationship. It took Dowling's marriage to his current wife for his father to fully come around.
The surge in transgender visibility, which has been heralded most recently by people like Laverne Cox, Bruce Jenner, and Janet Mock, helped Dowling take the lead in a reader contest to appear on the cover of Men's Health. Now that he's poised to become the first transgender man to cover the magazine, he hopes that this groundbreaking moment will question what the "new average" is, and continue to break down barriers.