Author Archives: Callen Harty

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 (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.

The McCarthy Fiasco

The reality of the fiasco that was the election of Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House comes down to this–McCarthy wanted power and control, but also wanted his name in history as his legacy. It was about ego and … Continue reading

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Club Q

(edited to reflect new information; 11/21/22) Once again, my people have been attacked. Several members of the queer community were shot and killed at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado late Saturday night. On Sunday’s Transgender Day of Remembrance, news … Continue reading

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It’s the night before the 2022 mid-term elections and I am nervous. And, to be honest, frightened. There are countless races with so many election deniers, QAnon adherents who really believe that Democrats and Hollywood stars are all part of … Continue reading

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In Defense of Joe Biden (and America)

Joe Biden is not the most exciting, dynamic politician we have ever seen, but his heart is in the right place. He believes in the Constitution and he believes in the promise of America, even though he rightfully acknowledges that … Continue reading

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The Self-Made Conservative Warrior

Tim Michels, the Republican candidate for governor after winning the primary last night, has had some of the most obnoxious and irritating ads of the campaign season (unless you’re a far right-wing ideologue who loves far right-wing talking points and … Continue reading

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Microsoft Microaggression

Lately I have been working on editing some essays, which I do in Microsoft Word. It is set to give me spelling and grammar hints, which I often ignore because the grammar hints are many times wrong. The Microsoft Editor … Continue reading

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One year ago today, sometime after 2:00 in the morning, I woke up my partner, Brian, and told him I felt I needed to go to the emergency room due to severe abdominal pains. I had just taken three consecutive … Continue reading

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A Walk in the Woods

Today was a perfect day for a spring walk. It was about 60 degrees in Wisconsin and sunny a day before we’re scheduled to be under the threat of rain for the rest of the week. Last year, due to … Continue reading

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The Promise of Spring

It was a beautiful day today with snow and ice melting, water rushing in the gutters, geese squawking as they flew overhead, songbirds singing, and the smell of spring in the air. While I know it’s still February and winter … Continue reading

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A Tough Year

This has been a tough year. At different times I have heard myself saying, “This has been the toughest year of my life.” And yet . . . And yet here I am. Today I went for a hike and … Continue reading

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Talking about Talking Spirits

I stumbled across this presentation recently and wanted to share it. Quite a few years back, I was the writer/director of a living history cemetery tour called Talking Spirits. It was an annual event sponsored by the Wisconsin Veterans Museum. … Continue reading

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Whispering willow

Wind whips through the whispering willow overlooking the crying, drying, dying stream. She bows down in prayer, gently sweeping over the banks, giving thanks for her years of life and the water that sustained her.

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