katherine cooper


Lesbian History:

Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper

  • met and began living together in the 1870s, were together for 40 years
  • They wrote a number of passionate love poems to each other, using a joint penname Michael Field was their way of declaring their inseparable oneness. Friends referred to them as the Fields, the Michaels or the Michael Fields.
  • Edith died of cancer in 1913, as did Katherine less than a year later. They were buried together at St Mary Magdalen cemetery, Mortlake.

You cannot tame metal the same way you
cannot tame flesh. I am in this girl’s right
hand. When she is alone, she calls me
Finger. Limb. Necessary. In the mirror,
she practices being assertive in case she
ever needs it. She practices holding me
the way her mother and grandmother
taught her to.

But she will never admit how much fear
she has swallowed by the spoonful. She
is afraid of telling a strange man no.
In the mirror, she can recite their names:

Maren Sanchez, killed for rejecting
a prom date. Mary Spears, gunned down
after turning down a man she did not know.
Lakeeya Walker, beaten by a man after
not thanking him for holding the door
open for her. Katherine Cooper and
Veronika Weiss, shot 15 times all together
by a college student who had a plan
to kill everyone in their sorority house.

The list overflows, and yet she still tucks
this fear in her sneakers, combs it into
her hair as if it’s a fun-colored yarn.
Somehow, she believes this fear will
protect her. She believes that if she
braids me in between her joints with
enough force, she will be safe. Maybe
she will draw her own blood out of
its hiding places, but she will be safe.

It’s my job to remain calm. I will steady
her hands as she hears footsteps slapping
against the sidewalk behind her. This is
a world that doesn’t bother to pluck
the terror out of her chest when the moon
begins to frown at her. The more times
I patrol her hands, the more I understand
the part of womanhood that is always

You cannot tame metal the same way you
cannot tame flesh. But you can calm
the flesh down. You can be on the other
end of the phone for her at 10:00 PM.
You can try and make surviving as flesh
just a little fucking easier. She does not
need saving from herself. She needs saving
from the very people who put me
in the palms of her hands.

—  Letter from the House Key in Between a Woman’s Fingers, Lydia Havens

Jay Kuo, Alex Rodriguez, and Katherine Cooper perform “The Mountain’s Heart” at TedxStanford on May 19.

Another trove of flowers lay on the lawn outside the Alpha Phi sorority house, where Mr. Rodger banged on the door, before shooting at passers-by. The shots fatally struck Ms. Weiss and Ms. Cooper, both members of another sorority, Delta Delta Delta.

Rampage Victims Drawn to California Campus From Near and From Far, The New York Times

Please do not forget that although more men than women were killed in this attack, that the murderer actively sought to carry out his desire of slaughtering an entire sorority house full of women. It is undeniable that this man acted upon deep seeded feelings of entitlement, superiority, and hatred toward women.

The victims of this shooting were George Chen, Katherine Breann Cooper, Cheng Yuan Hong, Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, Weihan Wang and Veronika Elizabeth Weiss. Rest in peace to all those killed, and condolences to those families whose lives were shattered by this event.