Aydian Dowling is a transgender activist and YouTube personality with a huge following on Instagram. It’s obviously in large part due to his work, but he’s also pretty easy on the eyes.
As many fans as Dowling has, there will always be people who have bigoted attitudes towards transgender people. In a recent Instagram post, Dowling went off on folks complaining about seeing him with his shirt off (um, no complaints here). He seems to see it much like #FreeTheNipple campaigners do, thinking that pressuring him to put on a shirt is all mixed up with transphobia and also our weird sexualization of nipples designated as “female.” He writes:
"Put a shirt on!"
It's a pretty common thing said to me. It makes me wonder- Is it because I was born female that so many people insist having my shirt off is me being 'topless'?
"Cis-men walk around daily, post IG posts, FB, Snapchat, all of it- and are seen as 'ok' no matter the age, size, color, anything- to have a shirt off. But once Transmen who work their ass off the AFFORD Top Surgery start posting shirtless photos- it's now seen as 'too much' or 'topless'."
Dowling goes on to explain that he works with his shirt off because it’s damn hot in his studio and he has no A/C. Plus, he worked hard to pay for top surgery, and worked hard at the gym to feel confident and good in his own body.
He writes, “I say- TAKE YOUR SHIRT OFF!
You aren't too fat.
You aren't too skinny.
You aren't not 'manly' enough.
You aren't too black or too white.
You aren't post-op? Who cares?!
You are female identifying? Who cares?!
I say #freethenipple! Or maybe you don't even have nipples?! Let those non nipple chests out of their cages!
STOP letting people make you feel SHAME because you are confident in yourself enough to be shirtless."
It’s a great message for anyone who stands confident in themselves. Even those of us who only feel confident with a shirt on.
[Photo: Aydian Dowling]