I received the same email and my understanding is if a writer is paid for their piece (I dislike saying content) then it will be published behind a pay wall. Regardless you can continue to publish for free, just as you do know.
I agree that over time they have been weeding fiction and poetry out. At this point those genres will never make it to the homepage unless it hits the “Top Stories,” or “Editor’s Picks.” That’s a load of crap. I think Medium and I have a different definition for “stories” and I think they have tunnel vision when it comes to what readers want to read. I want to read fiction, poetry, personal narrative, satire, etc. What I don’t want to read is politics, how to, or articles written by someone who tells me to do this because they know better than me, and that seems to be what Medium is focusing on. I have one or two stories a week make it to the homepage, always in the “Humans,” section which was not an option in their drop down menu. Yes, there is an “other,” section but I get the feeling those will be last pickins’ if any.
As far as not a lot of options to get paid for poetry, that is false. I receive poetry opportunities in my email box all the time whether it’s contest, literary magazines, whatever. Also fiction. I will gladly forward them to you. I assume that is your correct email in your bio?