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, 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.

An Open Letter to Speaker Vos

Dear Representative Vos, As the Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly you are in a  position to push certain bills or your entire agenda forward if you wish. That is the nature of the job you hold. You can also ensure that proposals … Continue reading

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After Creation

Writing, or any kind of creative action, can be hell sometimes, and it can even be worse after the creative act is completed and out into the world. Sometimes people think of writers, actors, or other artists as living glamorous lives. … Continue reading

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American Resolution

Every year we are supposed to make New Year’s resolutions and every year most of us fail to keep those resolutions. We commit to losing weight, being kinder to others, sticking to some plan or another. Resolutions are generally ways … Continue reading

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Bo Ryan at Christmas

When Bo Ryan announced his retirement I was as surprised as everyone. I watched his last game (and win) on television and there was no indication of the impending announcement during that game. Exactly one week before the announcement I had been invited … Continue reading

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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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