Ash Beckham is a bold, dynamic presenter who speaks about empathy, respect and the power of having real conversations. Online videos of her TEDx talks “Coming Out of Your Closet” and "Owning Your Duality" and her Boulder Ignite speech “I am SO GAY” have gone viral with more than 10 million YouTube views. Significantly, her message has also become a topic of global discussion. Ash reaches millions every day as her inspiring speeches are experienced in classrooms, boardrooms and auditoriums around the world.
Give Voice to Your Truth
With an arresting blend of urgency and humor, Ash takes on topics like the crippling experience of being trapped in a closet, the difference between tolerance and acceptance, and the need to remove the word “gay” as a pejorative from our lexicon. With wildly funny and poignant stories, and a tough yet deeply compassionate stance, Ash tells us how to take off the armor and be our authentic selves. She tells us how to get REAL.
Ash declares to her audiences “Hard is Hard. There is no Harder. There is only Hard.” She gives us permission to relate to each other as direct, authentic, unapologetic human beings. Rather than serving up candy-coated optimism, her stories offer listeners something more tangible. She elevates her audience beyond empathy into the realm of personal discovery, and challenges every listener to take personal responsibility for creating a much bigger societal shift.
Ultimately, Ash advocates for FREEDOM. Freedom to give voice to your truth, freedom to love without limits, freedom to be the person you were intended to be.
I am SO GAY!
In a world of 6 second videos and 140 character tweets, sometimes we don't take the time to think about the words we use—or the impact those words have on other people. With a blend of personal stories and relateable antidotes, Ash unpacks how word choice affects people. She helps you understand the need for inclusive language in so many aspects of our lives—everyday conversation, institutional forms, policy initiatives.
Someone may not feel like a word or phrase or lack of inclusive language affects them if they are not in the marginalized group. But, it is critical to find the empathy in other people’s struggles in order to create a stronger community. That empathy is most easily discovered when we begin listening to each other’s stories and we know what it is like walk a mile, or even just a couple steps, in someone else’s shoes.
The Art of Taking a Stand
Throughout our lives we find ourselves in situations where we want to take a stand either to advocate for ourselves or address injustices that we see done to others. When that fleeting moment to stand up approaches, our internal dialogue starts: Am I strong enough? Am I quick witted enough? Am I doing more harm than good by speaking out?
The questions come at us at warp speed often crippling us from action of any kind. To empower all people to take a stand, we must reframe our perceived requirements of standing up in the first place.
In this talk, Ash proposes that taking a stand is like art — individual, creative, and messy. Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the mastery of it. Ash provides a quick brain chemistry lesson to help us understand what is happening inside our bodies when stress is applied to give us a better sense of what drives our reactions and how we can make change.