Everett Klippert was the last Canadian to be jailed for homosexuality. Above he is pictured in the late 1970’s. A Fernie historian has helped to tell his story in a documentary to screen at the Elk Valley Pride Festival. Photo supplied

Everett Klippert: the last Canadian jailed for homosexuality

“Injustice and human rights struggles can teach us a lot about our humanity,” - Kevin Allen, historian

Human rights struggles are continual, an ongoing process. In Canada, a certain social issue is continuing to improve and has improved greatly in the past 70 years.

Nowadays, Canadian society is much more accepting of the LGBTQ community than it has ever been. But not long ago, things were very different.

In a moving short documentary film, titled Gross Indecency: The Everett Klippert Story, historian Kevin Allen of Fernie, B.C. dives into the history of a mysterious man who played a pivotal role in LGBTQ history.

Everett Klippert was a Calgary bus driver and he was also the last Canadian to be jailed for homosexuality.

Back in the 1950s and 60s, the charge given to those found guilty of homosexuality was gross indecency. If you were found guilty of this, often your charge, name, address and occupation would be printed in the local paper.

“Former Bus Driver Jailed Four Years For Indecency” read the title of the article in the March 23, 1960 edition of the Albertan. Despite moving from Calgary to the Northwest Territories, Klippert was labeled a menace to society.

What follows in the film is more discovery by Allen about who Klippert was, the struggles he endured and the lessons that his story teaches society, even today.

Before this short documentary was made, Allen, a historian, had been researching Klippert for some time. He was drawn to the fact that this man had been almost forgotten by society.

In 2016, after reading some of Allen’s posts and findings online, Globe and Mail reporter John Ibbitson met Allen in Calgary to discuss the story.

“He gave the story national attention and asked the prime minister to apologize to the community as a result, and that’s when we got the apology last year, in November,” said Allen.

The historian says he believes Klippert’s story had a role to play in making that happen. He also says he wants Klippert’s story to be remembered in Canadian history.

“Injustice and human rights struggles can teach us a lot about our humanity,” said Allen.

Klippert died in 1996.

Gross Indecency: The Everett Klippert Story, directed by Laura O’Grady and produced in collaboration with Telus’s STORYHIVE, was released in July and is now available online. It made its theatrical debut on Saturday at the Calgary International Film Festival.



editor@thefreepress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Everett Klippert shown after being released in 1964. Photo supplied

Just Posted

Pilot project proposed for Sylvan Lake and Rimbey RCMP

Chief Superintendent Shahin Mehdizadeh spoke about the project at Tuesday’s meeting of council

Town of Sylvan Lake announces new community bus

The CARE-a-van is available for both for-profit and non-profit organizations

Sylvan Lake shoreline flags wrongfully replaced by well-meaning citizen

Al Cameron of VVOC says a loose thread is not enough to replace the Canadian flags on lakeshore

PHOTOS: Sylvan Lake Atom Lakers fall to Eagles

The Atom Lakers squared off against the Atom Eckville Eagles

Green Party candidate Sarah Palmer

Sarah Palmer is one of five candidates running for MP in the Red Deer-Lacombe riding

VIDEO: #MeToo leader launches new hashtag to mobilize U.S. voters

Tarana Burke hopes to prompt moderators to ask about sexual violence at next debate

Suspect wearing Batman cap sexually assaults woman on Main Street Wetaskiwin

Wetaskiwin RCMP Investigate Sexual Assault – Seek Information and ID suspect

A year after pot legalization in Canada, it’s a slow roll

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

Pot use admission at U.S. border snagging Canadian boomers, says lawyer

A waiver to enter the U.S. can cost $2,000 and isn’t a guarantee

Health concerns over vaping cast haze over Canadian cannabis market expansion

More than 1,000 people in the United States, and a handful in Canada, have developed a lung ailment

Alberta government won’t seek meeting with teen enviro-activist Greta Thunberg

NDP Opposition Leader Rachel Notley urged Alberta’s United Conservatives to meet with Thunberg

Alberta to join B.C.’s class-action lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, distributors

B.C. government claims opioids were falsely marketed as less addictive than other pain meds

VIDEO: Trudeau, Singh posture for ‘progressive’ votes while Scheer fights in Quebec

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, whose party has been on the rise in recent polls, is campaigning in Toronto

Advance voter turnout up 25% for first two days: Elections Canada

Two million people voted Friday and Saturday

Most Read