“I was a man, that much was clear. But, years after I became one, I still wondered what, exactly, that meant.”
An exploration of modern masculinity by the first transgender man to box at Madison Square Garden, shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize
Shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction
Shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize
In this groundbreaking new book, Thomas Page McBee, a trans man, trains to fight in a charity match at Madison Square Garden while struggling to untangle the vexed relationship between masculinity and violence.
Through his experience of boxing – learning to get hit, and to hit back; wrestling with the camaraderie of the gym; confronting the betrayals and strength of his own body – McBee examines the weight of male violence, the pervasiveness of gender stereotypes and the limitations of conventional masculinity. A wide-ranging exploration of gender in our society, Amateur is ultimately a story of hope, as McBee traces a way forward: a new masculinity, inside the ring and out of it.
A graceful and uncompromising exploration of living, fighting and healing, in Amateur we gain insight into the stereotypes and shifting realities of masculinity today through the eyes of a new man.
“A visceral, sparky read … Beautifully written [and] deep and affecting … Absolutely fascinating”
Bbc Radio 4 A Good Read
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“A blazingly wise and beautiful book”
“McBee’s writing bristles with an elegant swagger … Amateur is as much a reconciliation as an emancipation … Punchy, thought-provoking stuff”
“In an age when identity feels so splintered and fractional, McBee’s empathy with men feels refreshing, but it’s his determination to be accountable that is radical. He resolves his own masculinity crisis by doing the things men often think they’re doing, but so often are not: listening, asking questions, seeking help, being vulnerable”
“Brave, honest and touchingly human … This is a beautiful book that will resonate … with anyone anywhere in the world who is determined to become a better, kinder human being”
Thomas Page McBee was ‘masculinity expert’ for Vice and the first trans man ever to box at Madison Square Garden. His essays and reportage have appeared in the New York Times, Playboy, Glamour and Salon.
@ThomasPageMcBee | thomaspagemcbee.com