Hope, Healing, Support

Survivor art display, MaleSurvivor's 14th International Conference.  Newark, New Jersey.  October 31-November 2, 2014.  Photo by Callen Harty.

Survivor art display, MaleSurvivor’s 14th International Conference. Newark, New Jersey. October 31-November 2, 2014. Photo by Callen Harty.

Tonight I sit in my hotel room a thousand miles from home and a thousand miles from my life partner Brian with tears at the corners of my eyes, and I welcome those tears. They are partly a release, partly the result of joy, partly me letting go of a little more pain from a traumatic childhood. I want Brian to hold me now and although I know he can’t do that physically I know he is holding me in his heart as he always does.

I had the honor this morning to be able to present at MaleSurvivor’s 14th International Conference in Newark, New Jersey. More importantly, I was afforded the opportunity to be a participant in the entire weekend conference. Most importantly, I had the honor to be in the company of some of the most compassionate, fierce, brave, empathetic, gentle, and beautiful people a man might find anywhere in the world. I saw how the organization honors its motto of hope, healing, and support. Because there were so many choices I was only able to attend a handful of the many workshops available, but in those I felt so at home, in the company of men who have been through some of the same things that I have been through. Each of them were at varying stages along their own paths to healing, but each of them were walking their paths with courage, compassion, and resilience, and each of them respected and understood the others. My joy is beyond description. There is still one more day to go and already my heart is filled.

There is always one more day to go. Healing is a lifelong journey with steps forward and steps backward and sometimes rest with no movement at all. But I can move forward a little stronger now. With the kind of community I witnessed this weekend I know that I do not walk alone and I know that others have cleared the path before me in many ways. I hope that I may help clear that path some for those yet to come.

About Callen Harty

Originally from Shullsburg, Wisconsin Callen Harty is the author of four books and numerous published essays, poems, and articles. His most recent book is The Stronger Pull, a memoir about coming out in a small town in Wisconsin. His first book was My Queer Life, a compilation of over 30 years worth of writing on living life as a queer man. It includes essays, poems, speeches, monologues, and more. Empty Playground: A Survivor's Story, is a memoir about surviving childhood sex abuse. His play, Invisible Boy, is a narrative with poetic elements and is also an autobiographical look as surviving child sex abuse. All are available on Amazon.com (and three of them on Kindle) or can be ordered through local bookstores, He has written almost two dozen plays and 50 monologues that have been produced. Most of them have been produced at Broom Street Theater in Madison, Wisconsin where he started as an actor, writer, and director in 1983. He served as the Artistic Director of the theater from 2005-2010. Monologues he wrote for the Wisconsin Veterans’ Museum won him awards from the Wisconsin Historical Society and the American Association of State and Local History. He has also had essays, poems, and articles published in newspapers and magazines around the country and has taken the top prize in several photo contests. His writing has appeared in Out!, James White Review, Scott Stamp Monthly, Wisconsin State Journal, and elsewhere. He has had several essays published online for Forward Seeking, Life After Hate, and The Progressive. Callen has also been a community activist for many years. He was the co-founder of Young People Caring, UW-Madison’s 10% Society, and Proud Theater. He served as the first President of Young People Caring and as the Artistic Director for Proud Theater for its first five years. He is still an adult mentor for the group. In 2003 he won OutReach’s Man of the Year award for his queer community activism. OutReach is Madison, Wisconsin’s lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender community center. He also won a Community Shares of Wisconsin Backyard Hero award for his sex abuse survivor activism work. He has been invited to speak before many community groups, at a roundtable on queer community theater in New York City, and has emceed several events. In 2016, Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault named him their annual Courage Award winner for his activism, writing, and speaking on sexual assault.
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1 Response to Hope, Healing, Support

  1. As always, Callen, deeply moving and warmly human. I too send you a warm embrace, my friend.


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