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

Queen Charlotte fire hall is a go

Start of construction marked with groundbreaking ceremony

NCRD Board turns attention to Haida Gwaii

Fishing concerns, recreation commission, and Sandspit festival all receive focus

IV cancer treatment returning to Haida Gwaii

Arrival of a new pharmacy technician means the service can resume

Logging moves forward as court rules against Haida Gwaii protesters

Injunction won against activists seeking to protect culturally and archaeologically significant site

Bachrach one of eight endorsed by non-profit advocacy group LeadNow

LeadNow is working independently to get the climate vote out in eight different ridings

On the Wing: Reflections on forests and fog

“On Haida Gwaii it seems as though nothing has changed.”

BC Ferries sees steady traffic of post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Ferries filling up fast, sailing waits at some terminals

‘Save the kids!’ Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his Canadian wife’s death

Family held a funeral and placed Alishia Liolli’s remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont.

Okanagan woman, 91, votes at advance polls despite broken hip, shoulder and wrist

Angela Maynard has voted in almost every election during her lifetime

Heiltsuk Nation open first Big House in 120 years in northern B.C.

Opening means the community now has an appropriate space for spiritual and ceremonial events

Singh says NDP would form coalition with the Liberals to stop Tories

Singh was in a Liberal-held riding Sunday afternoon in Surrey where he was pressed about his post-election intentions

‘My heart goes out to the mother’: B.C. dad reacts to stabbing death of Ontario boy

Carson Crimeni, who was also 14, was bullied relentlessly, his dad says

BC Ferries filling up fast with post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Monday anticipated to be busiest day of the weekend

‘Wham-bam out the door’: Surrey man’s front yard left ruined by scamming landscaper

Resident warns neighbours to be careful of door-to-door salesmen

Most Read