Author Archives: Callen Harty

About Callen Harty

Originally from Shullsburg, Wisconsin Callen Harty is the author of My Queer Life, a compilation of over 30 years worth of writings on living life as a queer man. It includes essays, poems, speeches, monologues, and more. It is available on, on Kindle, and through his own website, He is currently working on a second book, Empty Playground: A Survivor's Story. 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 has been an actor, writer, and director since 1983. He served as the Artistic Director of the theater from 2005-2010. Monologues that 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 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.


This has been on my mind for some time and I have not been able to clarify or express my emotions about it. But my heart hurts right now. It hurts not only for the Syrian refugees who are being treated … Continue reading

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I Think I Can Make It Now

I never wanted to confront the person who abused me as a child. Confrontation was not what I sought. But I did want to talk. I wanted to speak my truth. Not everyone who has been abused can or should … Continue reading

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Letter to Donald Trump

Dear Mr. Trump, I saw a very sad story about you in the newspaper today and wanted to offer my condolences about your tragic history. I had made assumptions about you that were clearly wrong. After reading that article I now find … Continue reading

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Introduction, Empty Playground: A Survivor’s Story

This is the introduction to my next book, Empty Playground: A Survivor’s Story, scheduled to be released on November 14. After years of self-examination and self-discovery and after suffering a major heart attack in late 2008 I decided that I needed … Continue reading

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After the blood red moon

After the blood red moon had passed you left to find the horizon, find your place among the stars, your life eclipsed like a long lone sliver of light falling into the darkness of the sky. I wish– though I … Continue reading

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Sometimes I Cannot Speak

When I was a young boy and being molested on a regular basis I sometimes fell into an emotional paralysis. I would be physically unable to move and unable to speak. Essentially I couldn’t function in any kind of way … Continue reading

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Labor Day Visit

This Labor Day weekend when I walked into my mother’s bedroom she smiled as if she recognized me. Sometimes her memory is good and other times it is not, and I never know which it will be. I sat down … Continue reading

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