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 Press, Legislating 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.
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.
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.”
Posted in Gay history
Tagged bisexual, Everett Klippert, gay, Jason Mehmel, Legislating Love, lesbian, Natalie Meisner, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, queer, Sage Theatre, Supreme Court of Canada, transgender, University of Calgary, UofC Press
It has been a momentous couple of weeks for LGBTQ2 history in Calgary, Alberta.
On July 27, 2018, the Calgary Police Service formally apologized to Calgary’s gender and sexually diverse community. In their official statement, they cited their historic opposition to Bill C-150 and said: “after the law changed our organization struggled to embrace the new direction and evolve.”
Bill C-150, of course, was the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada and a subject of our new film: Gross Indecency: The Everett Klippert Story. The documentary short has racked up thousands of views since it launched on July 31. It also garnered some thoughtful media coverage. Thank you, everyone, for the flood of positive regard that has been filling my inbox and social media accounts.
On August 2, the Calgary Gay History Project along with Sage Theatre and playwright Natalie Meisner received a Calgary Heritage Authority Lion Award for the spring 2018 production of Legislating Love. We were very honoured.
Actors Matt McKinney & Kathy Zaborsky, Director Jason Mehmel, and Historians Kevin Allen & Tereasa Maillie accepting the Lion!
Calgary Pride is just around the corner. The Calgary Gay History Project has partnered with Calgary Outlink to present an Intergenerational Tea on Saturday, August 25 from 12:30 – 2:30 PM at Memorial Park Library, followed by a Beltline Gay History Walk from 2:30 – 4:00 PM. This event is free and part of Pride in Vic Park, a multi-generational, inclusive and educational event to celebrate Pride Week in Calgary. We are looking for a $300 donation to cover the event food (tax receipt available). Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are feeling generous.
And if you have more time than money, Calgary Pride needs to fill up their volunteer roster for their incredible ever-growing festival. You can sign up: here. All volunteers get swag!
Finally, we will have a history booth at Pride in the Park again this year on Sunday, September 2. After the parade, come over to talk to us about all things historical!
Posted in Gay history
Tagged bisexual, Calgary Herald, Calgary Outlink, Calgary Police, Calgary Pride, gay, gross indecency, lesbian, queer, Sage Theatre, transgender
The family of Everett Klippert have shared a box of his remaining personal papers with the Calgary Gay History Project. We are ever so thankful and are in the process of digitizing them for posterity. Klippert’s documents were also used by playwright Natalie Meisner in developing her play Legislating Love, which had a very successful run at Sage Theatre last month.
Here are some treasures we have captured:
Everett Klippert (circled) worked at Union Milk Co. Ltd. from 1943-1952.
Note: Movies were discouraged on weekdays on this 1940s report card.
One of Everett’s notes from inside the Prince Albert Penitentiary. On August 26th, 1969 homosexuality was no longer a criminal offence in Canada (some conditions applied).
This Crescent Heights Baptist Church document is 90 years old this September.
Posted in Gay history
Tagged bisexual, Crescent Heights, Everett Klippert, gay, Legislating Love, lesbian, queer, Sage Theatre, Stanley Jones Junior High School, transgender, Union Milk