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
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.
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.
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 Calgary. In 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.”
StarMetro Cover Story by Madeline Smith – December 3, 2018
Posted in Gay history
Tagged bisexual, Calgary Herald, Calgary StarMetro, gay, Gay history, Governor General, Joe Kadi, lesbian, New Central Library, Our Past Matters, queer, transgender, University of Calgary
It was with great delight that we hauled 48 copies of Our Past Matters to the University of Calgary bookstore recently. It has been selected as course reading material in the upcoming Spring term (May-June 2019). The class offered through the Department of Women’s Studies is called LGBTQ+ Social Change History: From Stonewall to Calgary and is taught by Joe Kadi.
A grad-student annotated copy of Our Past Matters.
Our Past Matters was intentionally written to be accessible – eschewing academic publishing standards and tone. However, the Calgary Gay History Project is excited that the academy has found a place for it. Local queer history should be digested and discussed in our post-secondary institutions! University students were essential players in Calgary’s queer history from 1970 onwards.
It is poetic to think that students taking this class are linking themselves to previous generations – on the same campus – through their interest in social change history.