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

Central Okanagan school trustees ponder future of Rutland Middle School

Planning and facilities committee to weigh in on frustrating lack of progress

Your guide to winter light ups around the Okanagan

From Vernon to Summerland, with a stop in Kelowna, we’ve found some activities for you to enjoy

Kelowna RCMP look for suspects of Rutland break-in

Police are looking for two suspects after man was found with blood on his hands and face

Work on revamp Rutland Transit Exchange in Kelowna now complete

The transit exchange and extension of Shepherd Road will open Saturday says city hall

Movie-making in Kelowna

Film crews will be shooting scenes around the city for a new movie until early December

Feds give formal notice for law to end Canada Post strike

Trudeau government ready to legislate employees back to work after five weeks of rotating strikes

Getzlaf lifts Ducks to 4-3 win over skidding Canucks

Vancouver now winless since Nov. 8

Pressure builds for B.C. to recognize physicians assistants

“We can make a difference and I think we’re being overlooked.”

Senators urge Trump to expedite congressional vote on USMCA

The 12 Republican senators are warning of the dangers of getting the trade pact approved in 2019

Okanagan College professors introduce e-textbooks to ease student costs

Okanagan College ranks sixth in the province for open textbook adoption.

Bill just one tool to deter foreign interference in Canadian elections: Gould

Bill C-76 is just one means to deter outside interference in Canadian elections

Investigation into B.C. legislature officers began in January

RCMP brought in months after former prison administrator started

Legal challenge filed over high-stakes competition to design $60B warships

The federal government had originally said it wanted a “mature design” for its new warship fleet, which was widely interpreted as meaning a vessel that has already been built and used by another navy.

‘There has to be accountability’: victims of sterilization demand action

Morningstar Mercredi says she woke up from a surgery at 14 and immediately broke down when she discovered the baby she once felt inside of her was gone.

Most Read