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.

On Statues, Flags, and Heritage

  Statues that honor secessionists who rebelled against our country are coming down in cities around the country and it is well past time for it. The soldiers honored with these statues were men who fought to defend slavery. While … Continue reading

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  There was an ad on television a moment ago for a new series called “Spouse House”, set to premiere on July 9. The premise is that seven men and seven women will live in a house together with the … Continue reading

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It’s Just a Stage: The Evolution of Gay Theater

  In today’s theater the “love that dare not speak its name” is finally being spoken, loudly, and in speech after speech, play after play. As Time magazine opined after the Stonewall Rebellion in 1969, “the love that once dared … Continue reading

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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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