Legislating Love: The Everett Klippert Story- the last Canadian man jailed simply for being gay
An uplifting play that celebrates queer love over generations while challenging us to remember and celebrate LGBTQ+ history. See below for a special Talk and Reading at the ArQuives in Toronto on Monday February 10th, 2020.
Aspiring historian Maxine is researching Canadian social policy when she discovers the story of Everett Klippert—the last Canadian man jailed simply for being gay. Maxine becomes fascinated with Everett’s case and with discovering the man beyond the headlines, a beloved Calgary bus driver on the downtown route who took care to brighten the day of his passengers. One who played on the family baseball team and was everyone’s favorite uncle, and who, when he was confronted by police about his sexuality, refused to lie.
Inspired and captivated, Maxine interviews people who knew Everett Klippert, and had the chance to consult with and hear the stories of many Elders and seniors in the LGBT+ community .She connects with one senior at a local assisted living facility she knows only as Handsome, one of Klippert’s lovers and perhaps the only person who can truly illuminate the past. At the same time, Maxine is navigating her own new relationship with Métis comedian Tonya.
This absorbing, heartwarming play weaves together past and present in a multi-generational exploration of queer love. It tells the near-forgotten story of one of Canada’s quiet heroes and reminds us all that the past must be remembered as we work together for a better future. The result is a poignant examination of queer love through different generations.
This play was originally commissioned by Third Street Theatre with research Dramaturgy by Jonathan Brower. It was researched and developed in conjunction with Tereasa Maillie and Kevin Allen of The Calgary Gay History Project. Subsequently dramaturged by Jason Mehmel who also directed the world premiere at Sage Theatre in Calgary in 2018. It has also been accepted for the Dublin International Gay Theatre Festival, and will be produced as one of 12 downloadable radio plays in the Alberta Queer Calendar Project.
Natalie Meisner is a professor of English and Director of Changemaking at Mount Royal University. She is the author of Double Pregnant
Jason Mehmel is a writer, producer, and director living in Calgary, Alberta. He is the Artistic Director of the Sage Theatre, and directed the premier production of Legislating Love.
The ArQuives in Toronto present a Talk and Reading of the play on Monday February 10th
Hosted by Calgary Gay History Project. Kevin Allen explores the life of Canada’s gay rights anti-hero, whose court case led to the partial decriminalization of homosexuality in 1969.
Kevin is the Research Lead of the Calgary Gay History Project, a research collective working to uncover and preserve stories from Calgary’s LGBTQ2 past. The Project achieved national recognition at the Governor General’s History Awards and its research has been covered in both local and national media. Kevin was the inaugural Historian in Residence at Calgary’s New Central Library in November 2018, where he launched his bestselling book, Our Past Matters: Stories of Gay Calgary.
Monday, February 10th, 6:00-7:30 PM – The ArQuives (34 Isabella Street, Toronto)
Copies of the book will be available onsite, or can be order online here.
History buffs may also want to take a look back at The ArQuives map of Toronto queer bars from the 1990s.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist based in Toronto with a focus on tourism, lifestyle, entertainment and community issues. He has written several travel articles and has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He’s willing to take on any assignments of interest, attend parties with free booze, listen to rants, and travel the world in search of the great unknown. He’s eager to discover the new, remember the past, and look into the future.