A Lion’s Fears
In 2009, Aydian Dowling launched his YouTube channel Alionsfears. He began documenting his own transition as a way to voice his thoughts, fears, and successes. Through his videos he connected with the transgender community as he offered support for others looking to transition.
Aydian quickly became an inspiration to many transgender people and their loved ones. So, I asked Aydian: You are an inspiration to so many others…
Who Inspires YOU?
Aydian Dowling is an FTM transgender activist from Long Island, New York. He gained world-wide recognition as the lead contender in Men’s Health Magazines’ search for the “Ultimate Men’s Health Guy” 2015. Along with the other 4 finalists, he was the first transgender person featured the cover of Men’s Health, breaking down the stereotypes of what defines a man, and creating tremendous visibility for the transgender community as a whole.
Check out his clothing line, Point5cc; twenty percent of every purchase goes to The Surgery Fund, as well as Point5cc-hosted Binder Exchange Programs and Breast Form Programs. In his free time, Aydian enjoys putting his culinary skills to use (he is also a trained pastry chef) and hiking with his wife Jenilee.
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NN is a platform of resources and personal stories for & by the transgender community, run by the amazingly cute Micah. It mainly focuses on how to navigate a non-binary gender identity in a world made for two categories, yet the lessons learned extend beyond gender, to life in general.
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2 thoughts on “Featured Voices: Aydian Dowling”
Hello Neutrosis Nonsense,
I would be interested in telling my story in Featured Voices if you think it might be a good fit for the site. I came out at a turbulent time. I had just started a pre-medical post-baccalaureate program and a friend crashing at my place, the first person to ever use my preferred pronouns, killed himself after a manic episode. Now I am beginning medical school next year and my transition has had a huge impact on my career. Here is an excerpt (below) from my medical school application personal statement, which highlights some of this impact. I would love to pull from some of these experiences/ideas to write my story, if you are interested. Thanks for taking the time to read!
Eventually I came to understand the link between my friend’s death, my budding aspirations to study medicine, and my personal identity. His suicide brought me to a more intimate understanding of the importance of mental health awareness and the detriment of stigmas surrounding these issues. My closeness to these issues heightened as I myself became a member of a demographic with a high risk for suicide. During this same summer I came out as transgender and began my medical transition from female to male.
My health clinic, Lyon Martin, has since become a paramount part of my life. The staff use my preferred name and treat me with respect. They trust in my need to transition while providing me with information that has helped me make informed medical choices. Under a model of informed consent, they prescribe my hormone therapy treatment and have written my recommendations for chest surgery. In a word, I would describe the process as empowering. With the help of medicine I am able to pursue the health of my body with agency. Without my providers I would feel unsure and alone, scouting new territory. With them I feel supported, safe, and normal, their respect an affirmation of my identity. My transition has enabled me to achieve levels of happiness and stability that I never would have been able to without the aid of such a caring group of healthcare professionals. With this experience I have come to view the health care system as a crucial tool for self-determination.
I have also found that this is not how most trans people experience health care. Through my work as an operator for a trans suicide hotline and my participation in the trans community, I have spoken with other transgender people from all across the world. Many are unable to find coverage for hormone and surgical treatments, exacerbating their issues of depression, gender dysphoria, and social alienation. What care people do receive is often insensitive- they are mis-gendered, mocked, and refused treatments unrelated to their transition. It is not uncommon for transgender patients to avoid seeking medical care entirely to avoid traumatic encounters. Hearing and reading the experiences of these people has brought to light the incredible luck that I have had in mine.
My exploration of these disparities has solidified my dedication to transgender health services. I am in a unique position to personally relate to the issues of this field while being blessed with the privilege to pursue a career in medicine. For the first time in my life I can see a clear path ahead, a path I see as both important and exciting. This emerging passion has contributed greatly to my focus and drive in the last two years- the same drive that will sharpen my edge as a successful medical student and, more importantly, as a motivated and empathetic physician.
The empowerment and identity confirmation that I received from my provider can be something that all transgender patients experience. I want to be a part of a system that provides this. Inspired by Lyon Martin, I plan to devote my life to primary care for LGBT patients. In honor of my friend’s death, I will commit to destigmatizing and promoting awareness for mental health issues that people of underserved populations face, particularly those at the intersection of racial and sexual minorities. These communities have lost their trust in the health care system and I am here to help win it back.
On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 8:07 AM, Neutrois Nonsense wrote:
> FV Guest Author posted: “A Lion’s Fears In 2009, Aydian Dowling launched > his YouTube channel Alionsfears. He began documenting his own transition as > a way to voice his thoughts, fears, and successes. Through his videos he > connected with the transgender co” >