Author Archives: Callen Harty

About Callen Harty

Originally from Shullsburg, Wisconsin Callen Harty is the author of Empty Playground: A Survivor's Story, a memoir about surviving childhood sex abuse. 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. Both are available on Amazon.com, 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 has been an actor, writer, and director since 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.

Obituary for My Mother

An obituary cannot contain a life. Words and pictures cannot contain a life. Not even memories can contain a life. Each life is its own story and no one can know the full story of it except the one who … Continue reading

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Dreams of Justice

  Last night I had a disturbing dream. I was at a restaurant. In a booth near me sat a man and a boy. I overheard the boy tell their waiter that he and the man were “together”. He mentioned … Continue reading

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An Open Letter to Mitch McConnell

Mitch, I’m sorry, but I can’t start my letter with “Dear” because you are not, and I don’t respect you enough to address you by the title of Senator (and believe me, I deliberated that longer than most bills get deliberated in the Senate … Continue reading

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Without Memories

There was one recurring dream that I had when I was a child. I would be standing just outside the side door of our house where there were a number of steps leading up the hill to the door. Looking down … Continue reading

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On “Religious Freedom”

Several states have either tried or succeeded in passing bills over the last few years that are supposedly “religious freedom” bills. Many have been blocked from getting through or states have suffered boycotts and loss of business before or after passing … Continue reading

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Signs of Possible Sex Abuse

    As we near the end of Sexual Assault Awareness Month I’ve been thinking about something helpful I could write about it. One of the things I talk about when I share my survivor story to general audiences is … Continue reading

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I know

I know what happened to you even though you cannot say it, because I hear it in the words you do not say, and I see it in your eyes, in the way your body hides its secrets. I see … Continue reading

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