Author Archives: calgarygayhistory

Legislating Love Launch!

Next Monday, December 9th, join us for a significant Calgary gay history event: Legislating Love: The Everett Klippert Story, the award-winning play, is launching as a book. Published by the University of Calgary PressLegislating Love features local playwright, Natalie Meisner’s emotionally engaging script with director’s notes from Sage Theatre’s Jason Mehmel and essays from the Calgary Gay History Project’s Kevin Allen and Tereasa Maillie.

There will be speeches, a special performance from the play, and a reception and book signing to follow. This free event starts at 7 PM in the BMO room of the Central Library. The library would prefer people to register in advance: here.

Legislating Love Cover Rev.indd

December 9, 2019 Book Launch

Sage Theatre premiered Legislating Love in March 2018 to much acclaim. The play explores the story of Calgary bus driver Everett Klippert, who was the last Canadian convicted of being a dangerous sexual offender because of his homosexuality. The Supreme Court of Canada’s landmark judgment in November 1967 set a new bar for injustice: Klippert was given a life sentence.

The judgment led to outrage amongst some progressives in Canada, prompting Pierre Trudeau’s famous quote: “Take this thing on homosexuality, I think the view we take here is that there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.” It also profoundly impacted the nation’s gay community when homosexuality was subsequently partially decriminalized in 1969.

Giving our stories artistic expression keeps them vital; it allows our history to have resonance and relations with the present. One of the things most admirable about Legislating Love is how deeply centred it is in Calgary. In fact, our city was more than a backdrop for the drama; it was a character itself in the play. Chicken on the Way, the Calgary Tower, and the Number One bus route: Calgary audiences thrilled to place themselves in the play’s narrative.

Audiences were moved emotionally by the production. The genuine quality of the play and positive word of mouth ensured that the run became largely sold out.

Natalie Meisner

Playwright Natalie Meisner

Natalie said: “For me, one of the greatest endorsements for the show was the live testimonials as well as the written ones by Everett’s family and contemporaries. We have been contacted by theatres from across the country with interest in the script. I think this means we have opened a door to this Calgary based story and indeed this particular man’s story to the hearts and the minds of the country.”


Queer History @AEMCON

Calgary writer and queer history researcher Tereasa Maillie was invited to participate in the Alberta Electronic Music Conference on November 13-17, 2019. She was the moderator for the Sunday panel “Dance music as an LGTBQ2S Art Form” at Studio Bell, Home of the National Music Centre.

Tereasa at AEMCON

Our Tereasa’s Promo Photo for AEMCON

The panel discussed the origins and continuation of Electronic Dance Music as an LGTBQ2S art form. Panelists were two legends in the Queer art and music scene: DJ Mick Shea from Vancouver, and Keith Andony, cofounder of the Fruit Loop Society of Alberta. They were joined by the powerhouse Molly Fi (Dubbed “Calgary’s first lady of Breaks”) founder of the Girls on Deck DJ Collective) and DJ ra/sol, notorious for “their archetypal ability to read a crowd with eclectic DJ sets.”

The panel focused on the creation and maintenance of queer safe spaces within the larger community spanning back to the 1980s, up until now, across Canada. Mick shared his stories of the Vancouver dance scene in the 1980s and 1990s, which set the stage for an in-depth discussion of what an actual Queer space is, how it’s created, and what the future may hold for EDM for all diverse performers. Molly Fi pointed out how she performs in any space and ‘creates’ that safe space for everyone. Keith showed an incredible video of 2 Spirit performers, and ra/sol reminded us all that DIY events are pivotal to the EDM scene’s growing inclusion of Queer/Intersectional people. Lively and passionate, the panel dug into the core reason for EDM being a popular and relentless art form: it brings everyone together and mixes them in a fabulous way in their love of dance and music.

Tereasa also was on the panel “The DIY Feminist Resistance” in partnership with Femme Wave, hosted by Kaely Cormack. Again the theme of taking on and creating music scenes for all was central to the future of feminist, LGTBQ2S+, and POC activism.

The Alberta Electronic Music Conference (AEMCON) is a once a year event for music producers, DJs, and those that work and create in the world of electronic music. It is a multi-day conference aimed at inspiring and elevating Canada’s electronic music scene and the people that make it possible. AEMCON is an “advocate for diversity, in all its forms.”



One year later #OurPastMatters

Our Past Matters launched one year ago today at the Central Library. I wanted to take a moment to thank readers, history buffs, and Calgary Gay History Project supporters for their positive embrace.

Here are some highlights from the book’s year.

On November 22, 2018, hundreds of Calgarians attended the book launch and filled the Central Library’s Theatre with warmth and enthusiasm for queer history.

Noel photo

Book launch at the Calgary Central Library: Photo Noel Bégin

Our Past Matters stayed on the Calgary Herald’s non-fiction best seller’s list for months, eventually hitting #1 in February 2019.

Thank you Number one

From the Calgary Herald – February 2, 2019

The University of Calgary’s Joe Kadi selected Our Past Matters as a course textbook for his spring class: LGBTQ+ Social Change History: From Stonewall to CalgaryIn June, we were invited to attend a lecture. It was a genuine honour to receive insightful questions and pertinent observations about the book from this group of engaged readers.

In September the Our Past Matters received national attention when the Calgary Gay History Project made the shortlist for the 2019 Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Community Programming. (We just learned that we were not selected for the award, but remain grateful to have been given the nod).


So, it has been an absolutely lovely year. Upcoming plans for Our Past Matters include the imminent launch of the e-book edition and a book tour to a handful of Canadian cities in the New Year. (As a preview of touring, we just went to Fort Macleod’s inaugural Get Lit! festival last weekend and had such fun meeting local readers and pride organizers). Thank you again for believing in the Calgary Gay History Project and making Our Past Matters a “good read.”

Kevin @ shelflife

StarMetro Cover Story by Madeline Smith – December 3, 2018