Confirmed: Bruce Jenner Is Transitioning

Bruce Jenner (ABC News Go)

Bruce Jenner (ABC News Go)

This is shaping up to be an absolute gangbusters year for the trans community in terms of visibility and empowerment. In just the past two weeks alone, we saw “Orange is the New Black” actress Laverne Cox pose nude for “Allure,” and transman Aydian Dowling in the lead for the “Men’s Health” title of “Ultimate Guy.” As if that weren’t already an embarrassment of riches, Olympic decathlete/”Keeping Up with the Kardashians” patriarch Bruce Jenner confirmed what everyone had been speculating about in his ABC “20/20” interview with Diane Sawyer on Friday night: He’s transitioning to become a woman (but is totally cool using male pronouns for now).

It’s a fantastic interview; watch it if you haven’t already. Jenner is now the most publicly prominent transperson out there right now. He’s in a great position that has potential to educate millions of people on what being trans means. And he wants to use his newfound identity to help empower others who feel out of place in their own lives.

It’s fantastic that Jenner has finally decided to live his life the way he sees fit, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for him. Go Bruce!

Aydian Dowling Could Be The First Trans “Ultimate Guy” for “Mens Health”

Aydian Dowling (Facebook)

Aydian Dowling (Facebook)

This past week has been a banner one for the trans community. First, Laverne Cox stripped down for “Allure” to help empower her various communities (black, woman, transgender). And now, fitness magazine “Men’s Health” might soon have its first transgender cover model.

Twenty-seven-year-old Aydian Dowling from Eugene, Oregon currently leads the magazine’s “Ultimate Guy” search, which searches for the man who “possesses all of the qualities that make up today’s well rounded, active, health conscious and thoughtful guy; is fit and fearless and leads by example.”

Dowling certainly meets those requirements. He began transitioning using hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in Oct. 2009, and had top surgery (which removed his breasts) three years later. In terms of leading by example, Dowling is also a fitness entrepreneur: He created YouTube channel Beefheads Fitness, which focuses on fitness for trans people. He saw an opportunity within the marketplace when he realized that nobody was filling that void, and decided to step in. Dowling also gives back by donating some profits from his clothing company to help transmen pay for top surgery.

As of Sunday night, Dowling sits atop the “Reader’s Choice” leaderboard:

'Men's Health' Ultimate Guy Contest Leaderboard April 19, 2015

‘Men’s Health’ Ultimate Guy Contest Leaderboard April 19, 2015

The rankings are based on user votes, so anyone who comes to the website can decide whether to vote or not. (As you can see, there’s some self-selection bias at play here. But in this case, it might not be such a bad thing.)

Dowling has pretty much blown every other ranked contestant out of the water at this point. Brian Taylor, currently in second place, hasn’t even received 25% of the votes that Dowling has.

The winner of the “Ultimate Guy” contest will be featured on the “Men’s Health” November 2015 issue cover. The magazine’s editors note that “the winner of the reader vote isn’t guaranteed to win the contest, but will be in the top 10 finalists.” It’s very exciting that we’re potentially watching history in the making, and that this represents a large shift in terms of (re-)defining ideas of mainstream masculinity. And we really hope that the “Men’s Health” editors award Dowling the title, if he wins the reader poll.