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
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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.


  1. Allison, I was in contact with Kayden last month. I wanted to thank him for posting that video as it helped us to discover that our Trans son also has Aspergers. At first I thought he was a girl named Danielle but when I looked at his FB page saw several references to being Trans male and having the chosen name of Kayden Clarke. When we messaged and spoke on the phone it was as Kayden. Some trans people can have difficulty doing a complete switch especially when they have other mental issues as he did. His family was not supportive at all and that can make it much more difficult to want to put yourself out there. Your comment is uneducated at best.

  2. “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.”


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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. You are 100% right Robert, not everyone who cuts their hair short and wears a tie is a trans man, those that actually turn around and say that they are trans men are though, just like Kayden did.

    As already stated in my article, which you obviously did not bother to read through before posting a comment that makes you look vile and stupid, here is a link to his youtube channel.

    As you can see, it’s clearly the same person and he’s clearly talking about being a trans man, so either I’ve done some amazing digital editing to fake this, or he was a trans man.

    Also, in the wake of this article these following articles and websites corrected their stories to show the truth, you best go and tell them that they’re lying too!

    These are hardly all the articles that correctly state that Kayden was trans, but just the first few I came across by searching his name.

    Your lack of respect for Kayden and unwillingness to show him a tiny piece of humanity and respect his identity does not alter the fact that he was trans. Maybe you’re the one who should do a little research before labeling someone who isn’t around to correct you.

  6. 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

  7. To Allison and Robert, who claim Kayden was not a man: Here is his youtube video celebrating the completion of his upcoming transition. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Thank you for taking the time to comment on our article and accuse us of making up this tragic news. Fortunately your claim that we are making this up is wrong, as we actually provided a link to his youtube channel in the article where he talks about being trans.

    If hearing it from him directly isn’t enough though, please feel free to take a look at these other articles that have since corrected their information and are reporting on Kayden as the person he was, a trans man.

    Just because we were one of the first publications to report the incident truthfully, and bothered to research into the victim, doesn’t mean we made it up.

    Please spend a moment to google facts before making accusations.

  11. @ 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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.


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