© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

StoryCorps In Kansas City: Trans Man Wants You To 'Have A Right To Be Who You Are'

Alyson Raletz
Scott Fieker is a gay transgender man. He says that he realized at an early age that the world was confused about the way he identified.

Editor's note: StoryCorps OutLoud visited KCUR in June to collect stories from Kansas City'sLGBTQcommunity in partnership with the Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America.

Update: Since this story was originally broadcast in 2015 Scott shares that he's moved to Iowa and will be marrying a cis-gender, gay, man who, "accepts me for the man I am." He is one of the inaugural members of One Iowa's LGBTQ Leadership Institute.

Credit Courtesy of Scott Fieker / KCUR
Scott Fieker in a photo provided in 2018

Scott Fieker says he realized at a very young age that he didn’t identify with the gender he was genetically born with.

“I knew what boys and girls looked like, but it wasn’t until I was probably 5 that my cousin Cathy was born that I realized that my penis was missing, and that that’s why people were calling me a girl,” says Fieker,  a counselor for Swope Health Services in Kansas City.

“I was convinced that I was a boy, it's just that my penis hadn’t gotten there yet.”

Fieker is a gay trans-man, but he was born genetically a girl. He says his early years were hard — in grade school, he quit using the bathroom during the day. He trained himself to hold it, so he wouldn’t have to go into the girl’s room.
In those days, Fieker also had to wear dresses to school, which he didn’t want to do. He would stash a change of clothes in a tree, and change into shorts and a T-shirt on the way to school. Eventually at a parent teacher conference, his behavior was outed, and his parents were not happy.

Credit Alyson Raletz / KCUR
Debi Jackson, mother of a transgender child, interviewed Scott Fieker in June in Kansas City as part of StoryCorps' OutLoud project, an effort to record stories of LGBTQ experiences.

“They wanted me and my brother to look good to others. And they didn’t want any negative feedback,” Fieker says. “So it was difficult for them to have somebody who was being crazy acting. My mother’s mother was schizophrenic, and so when I started doing what they thought were bizarre things, that alarmed her.”

In college, Fieker came out again, but he recalls that people still didn’t get it.

“I would say that I was a boy, or that I felt male, but it wasn’t talked about a lot back then, back in the early '70s,” he says.

'The support that I didn't have.'

Fieker says there were hardly any trans role models while he was growing up, not like there are today. He gives this advice for people today who are struggling with gender identity and trans issues.

“The most helpful thing I could say is you know who you are, and you have a right to be who you are. Not all trans-people want to do a medical transition. Some people can’t for medical reasons. But as far as having a hair style, clothing style preference and changing your name, being who you are, you can do that at any time, at any age. I hope the younger kids have the support that I didn’t have.”

Every part of the present has been shaped by actions that took place in the past, but too often that context is left out. As a podcast producer for KCUR Studios and host of the podcast A People’s History of Kansas City, I aim to provide context, clarity, empathy and deeper, nuanced perspectives on how the events and people in the past have shaped our community today. In that role, and as an occasional announcer and reporter, I want to entertain, inform, make you think, expose something new and cultivate a deeper shared human connection about how the passage of time affects us all. Reach me at hogansm@kcur.org.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.