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.

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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On Marriage and Equality

It was the late 1970s and I was struggling with my identity. I knew I was gay but I didn’t know how I could be gay. The Stonewall Rebellion, considered the watershed event of the modern gay rights movement, was not even … Continue reading

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An Open Letter to Madison Mayor Paul Soglin

Dear Mayor Soglin, Let me start with a simple question: Who are you? What happened to the Paul Soglin I thought I knew? You just vetoed a unanimously passed amendment that would have added Madison’s homeless population as a protected … Continue reading

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The Dennis Hastert Truth in Sentencing Act

From Matthew 23:  Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do … Continue reading

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Ryan vs. Huebsch

More than four years ago thousands upon thousands of protesters descended upon Wisconsin’s Capitol to protest Scott Walker’s attack on public employee unions, among other things that were in his “budget repair bill”. Please note that despite media insistence it … Continue reading

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