Thomas McBee, a trans man, sets out to uncover what makes a man—and what being a “good” man even means — through his experience training for and fighting in a charity boxing match at Madison Square Garden. A self-described “amateur” at masculinity, McBee embarks on a wide-ranging exploration of gender in society, examining sexism, toxic masculinity, and privilege. As he questions the limitations of gender roles and the roots of masculine aggression, he finds intimacy, hope, and even love in the experience of boxing and in his role as a man in the world. Through interviews with experts in neuroscience, sociology, and critical race theory, he constructs a deft and thoughtful examination of the role of men in contemporary society. Amateur is a graceful and uncompromising look at gender by a fearless, fiercely honest writer.

Read an excerpt of Amateur.


Thomas Page McBee was the first transgender man to ever box in Madison Square Garden. He is the author of Amateur and an award-winning memoir, Man Alive: A True Story of Violence, Forgiveness, and Becoming a Man, which was named a best book of 2014 by NPR Books, BuzzFeedKirkus Reviews, and Publishers Weekly. Thomas’s writing has appeared in The RumpusPacific StandardThe New York Times, Playboy, and Glamour.

Get Into It

The Rumpus

Interview with Thomas Page McBee

“When I began the book in earnest it was after the US presidential election. I was aware that the issues of toxic masculinity illuminated by the election were bubbling up even before Trump became president, but I had to figure out a way place them in the context of the fight. “

The Guardian

Review: Amateur

McBee is better qualified than most to see the fronts people put on, and the vulnerability behind the bravado.