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Dr. David Baker-Hargrove: My Gender Fluid Life

by 26Health Staff

Dr. David Baker-Hargrove has always maintained that at any point in life, you can discover something about yourself. That thing may be new. That thing may have always been inside you. But the unfolding of gender never ends.

“I think it was probably about somewhere around 2018 that it just kind of hit me that, wow, I’m nonbinary. The irony is that I sat and talked with countless trans women as a therapist through the years who were in their forties or fifties and contemplating transitioning for the first time. Here I was in my mid-50s recognizing something about myself,” says Baker-Hargrove.

Baker-Hargrove remembers feeling a bit confused, even second-guessing verself. Maybe this is a phase. Maybe it’s just a fad. But time passed, and instead of fading, those feelings became more sure, more clear.

“So, only recently did I have an awakening about my own fluidity. If I had to describe my experience as being a nonbinary person, I’m as close to female as I think you could get, but I’m not, and that seems to fit,” explains Baker-Hargrove. “My personal nonbinary experience is less about the way that I look and more about the way that I feel, how I relate to male partners intimately, physically, emotionally, all of that kind of stuff.”

For a while, Baker-Hargrove did not want any gender pronouns — traditional or otherwise — used to refer to ver. Ve wanted people to call ver by ver name.

“I didn’t really start seriously giving myself permission to explore pronoun use until 2020. They never felt comfortable for me. It didn’t feel grammatically correct for me.”

Then an employee at 26Health shared a link to a website with ver. It listed out neopronouns and Baker-Hargrove became attached to ve/ver/vis.

“It is the closest neopronoun that I saw that is related to the original feminine pronouns while still maintaining some neutrality.”

Sexism in the Gay Community

Baker-Hargrove has considered ver identity journey and why ve may have arrived where ve is today. Could ve have known ver gender identity sooner?

It is possible that ver gender shifted gradually. The increased conversation around nonbinary experience could have sparked recognition. It is also possible that the sexism in the gay community caused ver to deny verself.

Baker-Hargrove doesn’t recall knowing ve was nonbinary earlier on. “I’ve probably evolved over the years. Maybe I just shelved it, being sexist, you know? There is pervasive unconscious bias that exists in the gay male community. So many gay men aren’t really even aware of the issues that they have about around racism, around transphobia, around femininity. I’ve been influenced by that bias because I’m very, very attached to gay male culture.”

Signs that a gay man is sexist are that he mocks feminine qualities in others and asserts his masculine dominance.

A sexist gay man can easily delude himself into believing he is not sexist. I have lots of women friends.

“To that I say, heterosexual men can be sexist, and they date and sleep with women. So you’re not proving your point to me,” says Baker-Hargrove.

This Point on the Journey

Today, Baker-Hargrove sees verself as predominantly feminine, “although I do not believe that I am fully binary trans. But who knows? Had I been born in a different time and had the opportunity to live a different life, things might be different.”

As things stand now, ve enjoys the latitude afforded by ver nonbinary status, and also ponders that ve would lose access to certain spaces in the community were ve to give that up and completely transition.

“ls good to really own and embrace my femininity,” says Baker-Hargrove. “I’m a fem boy and that’s okay.”