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.

Daily Triggers

Trigger Warning: This post is about sexual abuse, harassment, and child sex abuse. Please take care of yourself first and foremost and please seek help if anything along these lines has happened to you.   Pretty much every day now … Continue reading

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The Real Story of Assault

The way that America’s media and Americans’ attention span works it will likely be another couple or few weeks that everyone is fascinated by all the sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and child sex abuse stories popping up every day. Because … Continue reading

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The Political Pendulum

Back in 2003 Wisconsin’s former governor, Lee Sherman Dreyfus, won the first-ever Courage Award from OutReach, Madison’s lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) community center. It was a long overdue recognition for his signing of the nation’s first gay rights law in 1982. In … Continue reading

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Generic Mass Shooting Response

With more than 300 mass shootings in the United States so far this year (defined as four or more people  being shot or killed in the same general location and time) we are averaging about one a day. Two of … Continue reading

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Bolton Refuge House Fall Gala Speech

I was invited by Bolton Refuge House to be their keynote speaker at their annual Fall Gala. Bolton is the oldest domestic violence shelter in the state and is located in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. They also provide services for sexual … Continue reading

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A Haircut

Tonight I got my hair cut and it triggered a rush of memories and good feelings. Perhaps it had never occurred to me before that triggers can be good as well as bad. The sound of the clippers and the … Continue reading

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An Open Letter to Pope Francis on Funerals for Queer Children of God

Dear Pope Francis, Years ago I left the Catholic Church. There were several reasons, but one large part was because I could not reconcile my sexuality as a gay man with the official teachings of the Catholic Church. While I … Continue reading

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