Out Tenn. Detective Gets Threatening Letters

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Wednesday Dec 4, 2013

A police detective who fought to pass legislation that provides benefits to same-sex partners in Collegedale, Tenn., and was then exiled from her church as a result, recently received a threatening hate letter in the mail.

Police detective Kat Cooper married her wife Krista in Maryland earlier this year, and upon returning to Tennessee, lead the charge to extend family benefits to same-sex couples. The bill passed in August.

It looks like some were not happy with the outcome, however. According to Cooper's Facebook page, she says she was sent a hateful letter by a "Collegedale Voter" with bad spelling. The letter reads: "you and your bitch wife (he she) need to go where you 2 bulldykes got hitched! You are not wanted by voters here. It is a embasement to us. You 2 should hang your heads + close the closet door + hide."

"I think the individual who wrote the letter is pitiful, and it is very sad for countless reasons," Cooper wrote on Facebook. "It's not even necessary for me to state more. Nonetheless, it is a clear depiction of how hate and ignorance fuels violence and discrimination. Something we all need to be highly aware of at this time."

After Cooper fought for benefits, her family was asked to leave their local church after attending for 60 years. Following a Sunday morning service, leaders at the family’s regular place of worship, the Ridgedale Church of Christ, asked to meet with members of Cooper’s family, including her mother. Church officials reportedly gave the family two options: Publicly repent for their sins in front of the church’s congregation and ask for God’s forgiveness -- or leave the church.

"She is just so traumatized and so upset," Kat’s father Kurt Cooper said in the article, about how his wife is handling exile from Ridgedale Church of Christ. "It has been days and she’s still crying. It’s almost like losing a family member... there’s no sin to repent for and she’s not going to turn her back on her daughter."

But Cooper finally got the benefits she sought. On the TEP Hamilton & Bradley Counties Committee Facebook page, she wrote on Dec. 3 that, "yesterday, prior to leaving the office I was handed my family benefits packet to fill out for 2014. My night couldn’t have been made better as our HR girl handed it to me with a smile."

"Tonight, I will be filling this out as the first City’s employee in our State," she wrote. "That’s what employers do for their employees that they equally care about. Krista will have insurance January 1st, 2014. My employer has raised the bar setting the example by simply doing the right thing. Each of our employees are valued, and the safety and well being of our employees’ families are treated with equal respect."

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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