What a man!
This month, Aydian Dowling becomes the first transgender man to grace GT’s cover – and he certainly has a story to tell.
From his early years battling depression and coming to terms with both his sexuality and gender identity, to his campaign to become the first trans man on the cover of Men’s Health, Aydian talks to us about his incredible and inspirational journey so far.
Recalling his top surgery – a gender reassignment procedure for trans men that creates a masculine chest – Aydian confessed it was one of the most amazing and frightening experiences of his life so far. “It was the first time I was going to be ‘put under’ and go through any kind of surgery in my life, and that alone was terrifying,” Aydian reflects. “But the joy and feeling of being able to identify more with my body weighed much heavier then anything else.
“The freedom that comes to someone seeking top surgery is one that you’re reminded of every single day you change, shower, run, sleep, swim or just simply put on a tank top.
When you’re forced to bind your body every day, not only is it damaging to the human body, but it does something so hurtful to the mind. The feeling of having to hide, or cover up yourself, can be very traumatising to one’s feeling of self worth.
As well as talking us through his own journey, Aydian commented on the recent controversy surrounding Eddie Redmayne’s casting in The Danish Girl. Many in the trans community felt that the role should have been played by a transgender actor, but Aydian’s feelings were a bit more mixed: “I think there’s a huge gain in a transgender story being told, because it opens up the idea that anybody could be transgender – and that story is not as uncommon as one may think.
“But I do feel there needs to be more room for transgender actors in roles for both trans and non-trans roles.”
Aydian also spoke to us about his pioneering company Point 5cc, a first-of-its-kind stealth clothing company, that not only provides apparel for the transgender community, but its supporters as well.
“I began Point 5cc because I myself needed to come up with the over $6,000 in funds to get top surgery,” Aidan explains. Starting out with just $250 from an appearance on the It Gets Better television special, he came up with the idea of making a T-shirt to sell to the transgender community. “I named it Point 5cc, after the amount of Hormone Replacement Therapy that I took each week.
“The company received so much support that people asked me to keep it going, to carry on providing clothing that shows pride and strength to the community and its supporters.”
And he didn’t stop there, as well as offering a wide range of clothing, Point 5cc also hosts an annual Transgender Surgery Fund, which totalled at $4,600 for 2015, their highest figure yet. “We now have a binder exchange program and a breast form exchange program out later this year,” comments Aydian, “I always said I wanted to pay back every single person who bought my shirts, and this is the best way I know how.”
To read the full interview with Aydian Dowling you can download the latest issue of GT right now from gaytimesmagazine.com