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Cooper Lee Bombardier
Cooper Lee Bombardier is an American writer, visual artist, and educator living in Canada. www.cooperleebombardier.com

Why Do Men Fight?: An Interview with Thomas Page McBee

Corbett Sullivan Wrestling, January 1, 1892 / Associated Press

Cooper Lee Bombardier | Longreads | August 2018 | 15 minutes (4,084 words)

In his new book Amateur: A True Story About What Makes a Man, journalist and memoirist Thomas Page McBee trains for a charity fight. The book interweaves his immersion in the world of boxing — McBee became the first transgender man to box at Madison Square Garden — with research, interviews and stories that explore how we’ve arrived at a moment of collective reckoning with the toxic masculinity in American culture.

Amateur is an ambitious project, questioning not only what it means to be a man in our current culture, but what it means to be a trans man, interrogating the opportunities and privileges arrived at through a shift in socialization and lived awareness. The change in how others treat him as a man — at times better and worse in equally disturbing measure — as well as reports of masculinity’s demise, like the 2010 Atlantic cover story “The End of Men” which declared America to be in the throes of a “masculinity crisis,” spur McBee to search for a healthier idea of what it means to be a man. Read more…