Letter to the Mix, 105.1


Homophobia Hurts Everyone. Photo by Callen Harty.

To whom it may concern:

I just wanted to let your station know that in case you didn’t realize it this is 2016. The modern gay rights movement started with the Stonewall Rebellion in 1969. Almost 50 years later I find it unfathomable that men who are allowed to host a radio show indulge in lesbian bashing and homophobic and sexist banter on the air. Early this morning a caller and your two hosts, Slacker and apparently another Slacker, spent time lambasting lesbian mothers who raise male children, pretty much being both sexist and homophobic while apparently attempting to either be funny or controversial. If they were going for funny it didn’t work. If they were going for controversial they certainly raised my hackles as well as plenty of other people I know.

I have been a fighter for gay rights for nearly forty years and despite the progress we have made in that time we unfortunately still find ignorant people who are allowed a microphone to spew venom, insults, and opinions that work to set progress back. Imagine that you are a ten-year old boy with a pair of lesbian mothers and you had to hear these two men berate them when they are doing their best to raise you. How do you think that child might have felt? How do you think the bullies at school might interpret those words–perhaps as an okay to bully the kid even more? I have known many lesbian mothers and gay fathers and all of them have been incredibly conscientious about raising their children with good morals. And don’t even get me started on the sexist and gender stereotyping in which they engaged on the show. Good parenting has nothing to do with sexuality or gender. I was raised by a single mother and most who know me and my siblings would say she did a fine job.

These two hosts and your radio station need to consider the consequences of your words. I am a firm believer in free speech and I will defend your right even to say idiotic things, but as a business you have a responsibility to make sure the things your hosts say aren’t harmful to other human beings. I expect better, and I expect the vast majority of your listeners do as well. I’m sure your listeners would appreciate an apology for the tasteless banter as well.

Please note that a copy of this e-mail will be sent to the Federal Communications Commission and to your advertisers.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

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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