Trans Man With Asperger’s Shot Dead By Police, Media Misgenders & Deadnames

Kayden Clarke

A transgender man with Asperger’s, who became incredibly well known through the Internet after a touching video of him with his service dog last year, has been shot and killed by police officers in Arizona.

Kayden Clarke, 24 years old, was shot by police officers and later died in hospital after officer were called to his residence for a suicide call.

According to reports on AZFamily, where they misgender and incorrectly name Kayden, police entered his home and found him with a knife.  Kayden told police that he had a knife and was going to hurt himself.  Police drew their firearms and shot him.

In a statement from Detective Esteban Flores, he said (I apologise in advance, but during this statement Flores repeatedly misgenders Kayden) ‘She had one knife that we know of, she had something else we’re not sure what it was.  The officer said it was dark inside the room.  When she made contact with them she approached them with the knife, extended it out, and they felt threatened.’

Kayden gained attention last year when he posted a video where he tried to punch himself whilst having an emotional moment and his Rottweiler, Samson, comforts him and stops him from hurting himself.
The video went viral, and Kayden even spoke about the incident and living with Asperger’s to The Huffington Post, where he was also misgendered.  Kayden posted frequently about living with Asperger’s, as well as posting several videos about his transition.
Kaydens death has been reported on by several websites, but each and every one of them has misgendered him and used the incorrect name.
Kayden was an amazing individual, who tried to shine a light on the struggles that people living with Asperger’s face, and he has been shown nothing but disrespect from every single person who has shown no respect for his gender or his identity.
To call Kayden anything other than Kayden, or to refer to him as female spits in the face of his memory, it shows disrespect and it should be called out whenever it is seen.  It’s a horrible, disrespectful thing to do and it disgusts me.
As of the moment the officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave.  Unfortunately they were not wearing body cameras, so we cannot know exactly what happened in Kayden’s home, but from all reports it would appear that police officers attended a call for help from someone who was suicidal, someone who made them aware that they had a knife when they arrived and indicated that he only wanted to hurt himself.  In response those police officers shot and killed him.  To me, that sounds like murder.
I’m sure that there will be an investigation into these events, and I hope that the truth comes out and that people face the justice that they deserve, unfortunately people can’t even show Kayden enough respect to use the correct name and pronouns, so that kind of justice will probably never come.
Rest in peace Kayden.
#HisNameWasKayden  #RIPKaydenClarke
Amy.
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Amy Walker
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Amy is a journalist and editor contributing the websites Planet Transgender, Gay News Network, The Bottle Episode, The Retro Box and Claire Channel. Amy is also a published comic book writer and letterer.
In addition to her writing Amy has also worked with the Centre For Hate Crime Studies in Leicester and has worked in the capacity of an advisor to the United Nations Entity For Gender Equality and The Empowerment of Women.

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26 Responses to Trans Man With Asperger’s Shot Dead By Police, Media Misgenders & Deadnames

  1. Pingback: Kayden Clarke, une victime de plus de la psychophobie de la police | Coups de Gueule de Lau

  2. Ben February 5, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    FYI: Identity-first language is preferred with Autistic community (e.g. not ‘person with autism’ but Autistic person). I’m not sure how Kayden identified himself, if he used person-first language then no harm with person-first language used here.

    Reply
  3. Sam Craft February 5, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    Really affected our community at Everyday Aspergers as many of us had seen the video and shared. Some knew him. Source has told me police knew of his behavior from past and this was not new behavior and that he lacked family support. I am aspergersgirls on twitter. I identify with the following terms: person with Aspergers, Aspie, on the spectrum, or autistic. It’s a personal preference. Some people wish to be identified as autistic or Aspie. I don’t think that is the concern here, but more over the loss of life, and missed opportunity to assist a disabled adult with proper care and resources. ~ Sam, Author of Everyday Aspergers

    Reply
  4. Pingback: Mesa, Arizona police shoot and kill suicidal Danielle Jacobs who suffered from Asperger's. | DailyHaze

  5. Denise Crawford February 5, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    many of my friends was direct friends with Kayden . i how ever, did not know him personally , i do know many of his friends . i too being a trans in this metro area , know how we are treated , even at hospitals , Drs , .. the police thru out this valley are even a greater threat than any one else towards us .

    He however is not the first , and may not be the last, but we are riled up and pissed ,, not only the way Kayden isbeing treated , but the entire system of hate , shoot , kill and walk away attitude of the police . not only here in the Phoenix metro area , but nation wide

    Reply
  6. Leslie Raich February 5, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    I’d like to write Kayden’s family – send my sympathies …. any idea of an address?

    Reply
  7. davina February 5, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    Its really to bad the police did not know how to help him instead of killing him. Its disappointing that the news miss genders him too.

    Reply
  8. Pingback: Day 36 His name was Kayden Clarke - Autistic Me in 2016

  9. Pingback: On Autism and being Transgender (RIP Kayden Clarke) – Loner on the road

  10. Rich Klingman February 6, 2016 at 6:25 am

    I have PDD NOS, a high end form of Asperger’s I don’t fully understand myself. I ‘perceive’ things differently than others. I also suffer from anxiety/depression and PTSD, all of which can be very crippling at times. While I don’t condone the actions of either party in this case, if someone is coming at me with a knife I am going to be on guard and looking for a way to disarm them. This is why tasers were invented.

    Reply
  11. Pingback: États-Unis: un jeune homme trans abattu par la police à son domicile | Yagg

  12. Allison February 6, 2016 at 11:31 am

    I’m sorry but literally every other article about this person says she was a women named Danielle Jacobs. I believe this article is making up her being a trans man. I see no other sources claiming this.

    Reply
  13. femme February 6, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    @ Allison. Why because other writers who didn’t bother to actually do any research but read the police report must be right? if something happened between you and police and the police report said something untrue about you and that’s what all others printed, would it make it true?
    One would think that friends would have a much better handle on who this person was, then would some stranger. As such I tend to trust them when they say he identified as male.

    Reply
  14. spreadingtruth February 6, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    The all the people saying that Tasers are appropriate for confronting people coming at them with knives…NOT TRUE AT ALL!

    Tasers are too unreliable, especially at close range, to be used as a defense against a knife attack. Ask any expert who knows what they are talking about and they will agree. When Tasers first started being used in the 90s, a lot of cops were seriously hurt or killed because the probes didn’t deploy fast enough or penetrate deep enough, became blocked or the spread was not wide enough to incapacitate the assailant. When someone is coming at you with a knife you typically get one chance to stop them…and it should be a gun most every time.

    It is sad the individual put the cops in this situation because now they have to labeled as “murderers” by people who don’t know what they are talking about.

    Reply
  15. Robert February 6, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    This person is *not* transgender, their name is Danielle Jacobs, not Kayden Clarke. Here is her youtube channel notice the name is “Danielle Jacobs”, instead of “Daniel Jacobs” or “Kayden Clarke”? Please do your research before labeling someone who’s not around to correct you. Not every female who cuts their hair and wears a tie is a “transman”. This was a young woman with asperger’s syndrome who was killed by cowardly cops. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFu3pUsJGoM-vOeVW5XE2_A

    Reply
  16. Raven Dia Saul February 6, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    To Allison and Robert, who claim Kayden was not a man: Here is his youtube video celebrating the completion of his upcoming transition. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3kjoSBKc3c. It is a particular kind of vileness for you to deny someone’s humanity in this way, by claiming there is no evidence that they are trans.

    Reply
  17. leo somes February 7, 2016 at 12:06 am

    god bless you Kayden ….
    how did this happen its obvious that he needed support and help coping with his condition.being autistic and trans could nevet be easy
    may i send blessings to Kaydeb’s family.
    God Bless abd rest in peace Katden
    im sorry i never got to meet you Kayden xxxx

    Reply
  18. A dose of reality February 7, 2016 at 4:38 am

    I don’t see the relevance of gender/sexuality in this case. A person approached the officers with an extended knife and they feeling ‘threatened’ shot them. A lot of the posts I read appear to be knee jerk hysterical outbursts. Trans people have no more right to attack people with a knife than anybody else.

    It’s a very sad case but would there have been such outburst if Kayden had killed an officer? Tasers are unreliable in close quarters and better against violent drunks for instance, not in cases sure you might only have one chance to survive. And being that Kayden had previously posted about ‘death by cop’ I don’t think we can just knee jerk say that the officers are ‘evil’. Even top martial artists/self defence experts say they would run from a knife and that it’s very hard to counter. Running is not an option for the police. Some experts don’t even teach knife defence for the reason it rarely works. Even stab proof vests don’t protect eyes/throat. From the previous self harm videos posted, I think Kayden maybe needed more support than a dog. RIP.

    Reply
  19. A dose of reality February 7, 2016 at 4:46 am

    And I meant that with the utmost respect. I have met many police officers in my training and have yet to meet a bad apple – although there are undoubtedly some. It just infuriates me that in many instances they will shoot a known felon who in some cases has a weapon, and are then villified. This is not one of those cases but the reaction is similar. Those officers have families and I’ll bet that they have already done much more to protect communities than most posters online! They have likely also saved lives. But nonetheless, a terrible sad situation.

    Reply
  20. Lara February 7, 2016 at 11:26 am

    “It is a particular kind of vileness for you to deny someone’s humanity in this way, by claiming there is no evidence that they are trans.”

    Really?

    Last I checked, both men and women were human. Let’s not use this tragedy for transactivist point-scoring?

    Reply
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