On the opening page of Amateur, Thomas Page McBee’s autobiographical exploration of manhood, the reader is thrown directly into the middle of a boxing match in which the author is a combatant. It’s McBee’s first time fighting in an arena. And that arena is no less than Madison Square Garden, the Mecca of American prizefighting.
Although he loses, McBee embraces his opponent, unexpectedly voicing the love he feels for him. From that moment on, it’s clear that this is no ordinary sports memoir. Rather, the next two hundred pages become the story of McBee’s fight as a transgender man, both in the ring and out of it. The boxing match, the gallant strife, is only a small part of his struggle.