Ash Beckham will be speaking on the Pitt-Greensburg campus on March 24 at 7:00 p.m. in the Ferguson Theater. Beckham is from Toledo, Ohio and attended The Ohio State University. Beckham is known for her public speaking, and has even been featured on the popular TED Talks online show.
Though, Beckham never expected to come this far. “I had had a recent influx of kids in my life. Not my kids but kids of people that I loved very much – my sister’s kids and friends of mine who are like family – and I knew at some point these kids would be hurt because they loved me, because I was gay. Someone would say something on the playground or in the locker room or in the hallway and those words would hurt. And I wanted to change that. To me the first step was to get people to understand why we needed to stop the pejorative use of the word “gay”. And that is what my first talk was about. I expected it to end there.” Beckham said.
Beckham speaks at many different types of locations all over America, but she says that universities are one of her favorite places to speak. ”It takes me back to the struggles and frustrations and excitement that happens when you have recently come out. Those family struggles. Living a double life. That first kiss that changes everything. It is real and raw and important. I don’t ever want to lose sight of how that feels.” Beckham said.
When asked what speech she would give if she had only one speech left, Beckham said. “Empathy – If we could get people to take the time to understand the person sitting across the table or on the other end of a gun or the other end of our judgment, the world would be a less violent more compassionate place. We don’t have to like each other, we just need to put the effort in to understand and therefore respect other people in the world or just down the street from us. We can then realize that our similarities far outweigh our differences.”