As many readers of the Calgary Gay History Project know, a lot of our work has been focussed on the life of Everett Klippert—unjustly incarcerated for most of the 1960s for being gay.
In 2020, the Klippert family applied to the Parole Board of Canada for an expungement of their uncle’s criminal record—a provision that was made available to them through the Expungement of Historically Unjust Convictions Act. This Act was part of the Government of Canada’s formal apology to the LGBTQ2 community in 2017.
The expungement order was granted on November 18, 2020, which means Everett is deemed never to have been a criminal. Although he died almost 25 years ago, his family is deeply satisfied with the outcome.
Interestingly, Ottawa-based lawyer Brian Crane, who defended Everett in the Supreme Court trial of 1967, offered to assist the family with the application, pro bono. It’s remarkable that Mr. Crane’s career has spanned these two ends of Everett’s story.
The Calgary Gay History Project is very grateful to have been part of this journey with the Klippert family. To learn more about Everett’s story, and why it is important to Canadian history, we have included a few links.
It is distressing to find our world so disrupted by pandemic. With social distancing and closing borders, we will likely find ourselves with much more time at home. Reading has always been a favourite pastime and retreat for me. Now that we may find bookstores and libraries closed, it occurred to us, that we could assist our fellow Calgarians by providing free PDF downloads of Our Past Matters: Stories of Gay Calgary.
The book, which was on the Calgary Herald’s local best-seller list in 2019, explores our city’s LGBTQ2 past. In it, you will find stories of resiliency and courage, darkness and light. Until April 30, 2020, email Kevin at email@example.com with the subject line: “PDF please” and we will send you a copy.
11:00 AM – 6:00 PM – Pride in the Park. After the parade, stop by the Calgary Gay History Project’s History Booth. Share your own stories and learn more about Calgary’s LGBTQ2 Past.
Jeremy Klaszus, editor and founder of The Sprawl, invited us to write an essay about gay history. We used the opportunity to mark the 50th anniversary of Bill C-150, the decriminalization of homosexuality coming into force, and the Calgarian who precipitated it, Everett Klippert. You can read it: here. After reading the essay, CBC Radio requested a live radio interview about the anniversary too.
Consider being a Sprawl supporter yourself – pop-up journalism may be a unique model for news, but the Sprawl has an impressive track record of insightful and meaningful local reportage. We love it.
Another highlight of the week was RISE. The audience at the Plaza Theatre was honoured and moved by the passionate recollections of two heroes from the gay rights movement, Ruth Coker Burks and Cleve Jones. Afterward one Calgarian exclaimed: “It was one of the most inspirational evenings I have ever attended.” I was very grateful to have MCed the event, which was manifested by Twisted Element’s Keon Brawn. Thank you, Keon, for showing the community such inspired leadership.