Inappropriate Questions


Have you ever been curious to know the answer to a question that might be intrusive or too personal for other people? On their biweekly podcast Inappropriate Questions, now in its third season, cohosts Elena Hudgins Lyle and Harvinder Wadhwa make a space for curiosity where guests can unpack the tricky questions they get asked and learn stories about them—whether they ask if polyamorous people cope with jealousy in relationships, if Indigenous people are full Native, or brave the dreaded “have you lost weight” assumption. Created by Hudgins Lyle alongside producers Sabrina Bertsch and Cindy Long, the podcast was built out of a school project while they were studying Media Production in Toronto, Ontario. Bertsch, who’s mixed-race, had been asked a lot of questions about her background and ethnicity after studying abroad for a semester. Long and Lyle, both LGBT, would also get frequently asked about their identity and sexuality. Even if these frustrations served as a jumping-off point for them, they quickly realized that they could also learn about a variety of topics from others too—especially from their parents and older generations. So they auditioned a “dad-like” figure to be a counterpart as co-host. Wadhwa, a project manager with an engineering degree, was the unanimous choice. “Harv was the very first interview we did,” Lyle says. “After the interview, he was like, ‘All right, how many more of these do you have to go?’ You know I'm it, right? You can stop now.’” In each episode, guests share stories about being asked the week’s specific inappropriate question. Though, occasionally, they'll have an expert or academic who can break down more of the historical and social aspect of the question. Both Hudgins Lyle and Wadhwa bridge together their different generational perspectives to challenge themselves and their guests, having casual, yet meaningful conversations that are engaging, unpredictable, and humorous. “Though I've been in Canada for over 20 years, I co

  • 4 minutes 29 seconds
    Inappropriate Questions Introduces: Tai Asks Why - Season 4
    Fifteen-year-old Tai Poole won’t rest until he’s uncovered the mysteries of the universe, one probing question at a time. In Season 4 of his Webby-winning podcast, Tai talks to everyone from NASA scientists to stand-up comedians to his equally curious little brother Kien. If you’ve ever wondered if we can keep eating meat without destroying the planet or if we’re alone in the universe, Tai has you covered. More episodes are available at
    20 April 2022, 6:51 pm
  • 17 minutes 23 seconds
    Answering your questions and looking back on Season 3
    It’s the end of Season 3! Elena and Harv look back at some of the highlights of the season and answer some of your listener questions. Together, they discuss the challenges of hosting, finding the right questions to tackle, and share their proudest moments from the season. Thank you to all of our listeners for joining us. We hope you enjoyed the season! Follow us! Twitter: @IQ_Podcast Instagram: @IQ_Podcast For transcripts of this series, please visit:
    24 November 2021, 9:10 am
  • 38 minutes 41 seconds
    Is “What are you going to do now?” good small talk?
    We often ask new people about what they do for work, and if they’re in a transition period, the question becomes “What are you going to do now?” Whether they’re graduating, starting a family, or about to retire, we are fascinated about career next steps. Is asking this a good way to get to know someone or does it come with certain expectations? Harv’s daughters Harbani and Rymn join in to talk about getting this question as they graduate and the pressures they feel to know next steps. Olympic silver medallist Krista Guloien shares what it’s like to retire from rowing at 33, and the challenges of finding a new career outside of sport. Stay-at-home mom Vania talks about why she wrote into the show about this question and handling the assumption she’ll return to paid work. Psychology professor Anne Wilson discusses how our identities can become entwined with our careers and the problem with society’s emphasis on finding your one true calling. Follow us! Twitter: @IQ_Podcast Instagram: @IQ_Podcast For transcripts of this series, please visit:
    17 November 2021, 9:10 am
  • 36 minutes 33 seconds
    Is it okay to ask an autistic person “Are you sure?”
    Autistic people are sometimes met with skepticism when they tell someone they’re autistic, especially when they don’t match others’ assumptions of what autism is. Harv and Elena speak to TikToker Jam about how they realized they’re autistic, some of the challenges they face, and how getting a diagnosis isn’t accessible to everyone. Disability studies scholar Sara Acevedo talks about some of the reasons people ask this and debunks common stereotypes about autistic people. Connect with our guest below: Jam: Tw: @2jam4u IG:@2jam4u TikTok: @2jam4u Follow us! Twitter: @IQ_Podcast Instagram: @IQ_Podcast For transcripts of this series, please visit:
    3 November 2021, 8:10 am
  • 38 minutes 46 seconds
    Should we ask “Where are they now?” about former child actors?
    We often look back on our favourite movies or shows and wonder where those actors are now. But how does it feel to see this question asked about you? Elena and Harv speak to author Lisa Jakub about her time as a child actor in Mrs. Doubtfire and how her measures of success changed when she left the industry. She also discusses how this question can stem from a lack of boundaries and a misplaced sense of intimacy with actors. Actor and comedian Rivkah Reyes talks about being in School of Rock, the effect that tabloid listicles can have, and why it’s so important to be able to share your own story. Connect with our guests below: Lisa Jakub: Tw: @Lisa_Jakub IG: @lisa.jakub Rivkah Reyes: Tw: @rivkahreyes IG: @rivkah.reyes Follow us! Twitter: @IQ_Podcast Instagram: @IQ_Podcast For transcripts of this series, please visit:
    20 October 2021, 8:10 am
  • 35 minutes 48 seconds
    Is it okay to ask formerly incarcerated people “Why did you do it?”
    People are fascinated by the reasons people commit crime. But is “why” the right thing to ask a formerly incarcerated person? Kadeem Reid shares his story with incarceration, the impacts of the prison system, and what he wishes people would think about before asking this question. Advocate Sara Tessier explains why this question requires understanding of broader contexts and social systems, and how society can better help formerly incarcerated people move forward. Connect with our guest below: Sara Tessier Tw: @SaraTessier15 Follow us! Twitter: @IQ_Podcast Instagram: @IQ_Podcast For transcripts of this series, please visit:
    6 October 2021, 8:10 am
  • 36 minutes 50 seconds
    Is it helpful to ask a blind person “Do you need help?”
    People who are blind or have low vision sometimes get approached with offers of help—whether they need it or not. Is it useful to offer help, or is it overstepping? MasterChef Season 3 winner Christine Ha joins Harv and Elena to talk about building a culinary career while losing her vision, and when she finds this question to be helpful. Dr. Mahadeo Sukhai, Director of Research at the Canadian National Institute of the Blind, suggests ways to make this question more useful, and explains how inclusive design could make this question less necessary. Plus, a spoken word piece by Amy Amantea about what it feels like to receive inappropriate questions as someone living with sight loss. Connect with our guest below: Christine Ha: IG: @theblindcook Tw: @theblindcook Follow us! Twitter: @IQ_Podcast Instagram: @IQ_Podcast For transcripts of this series, please visit:
    22 September 2021, 8:10 am
  • 24 minutes 38 seconds
    Should I ask someone with depression/anxiety “Have you tried _____?”
    Especially in the past year and a half, lots of us have been trying new things to help manage our mental health. But can suggesting things like meditation and exercise actually help someone with anxiety and/or depression? Elena and Harv talk to comedian and mental health advocate Kelsey Darragh about what she does to cope, checking in with loved ones, and why this question can help open discussions about mental health. For another angle on this question, check out our Season 2 episode “Have you tried _____?” where we discuss this question with people who have chronic illnesses. Connect with our guest below: Kelsey Darragh: Tw: @kelseydarragh IG: @kelseydarragh Follow us! Twitter: @IQ_Podcast Instagram: @IQ_Podcast For transcripts of this series, please visit:
    8 September 2021, 4:10 am
  • 37 minutes 52 seconds
    Can I ask a sex worker “What was your worst experience?”
    Whether it’s by clients, friends or strangers, sex workers are frequently asked to share their bad experiences. Elena and Harv talk with author and sex worker Andrea Werhun about the misconceptions surrounding sex work and why people feel entitled to their stories. AK Saini discusses what people want to hear when they ask this question, and shares the positive aspects of their job. Connect with our guests below: Andrea Werhun IG: @weenerwoman Tw: @andreawerhun AK Saini IG: @akaaksaini Follow us! Twitter: @IQ_Podcast Instagram: @IQ_Podcast For transcripts of this series, please visit:
    25 August 2021, 11:10 am
  • 45 minutes 21 seconds
    Should I ask someone “Why are you single?”
    In a world of rom-coms and love songs, being single can be seen as a bad thing. It’s something our friends, relatives, and even potential partners ask about, but why do we assume we need a partner to be complete? Elena and Harv talk to comedian Salma Hindy about the parental pressure to get married and how to feel okay with being single. Asexual activist and model Yasmin Benoit breaks down myths about asexuality and aromanticism, and why she’s never felt single. Money and culture writer Renée Sylvestre-Williams shares how financial systems often aren’t built with single people in mind. Connect with our guests below: Salma Hindy IG: @salma.hindy Tw: @salooma911 Yasmin Benoit IG: @theyasminbenoit Tw: @theyasminbenoit Renée Sylvestre-Williams IG: @reneesylvestrewilliams Tw: @reneeswilliams Follow us! Twitter: @IQ_Podcast Instagram: @IQ_Podcast For transcripts of this series, please visit:
    11 August 2021, 8:10 am
  • 38 minutes 33 seconds
    Can I ask a Black friend “How can I do better?”
    Wanting to do better when it comes to fighting racism is great—but even with good intentions, asking the Black people in your life to tell you how isn’t the way to start. Elena and Harv talk to author and activist Frederick Joseph about what makes this question frustrating, where to find resources, and how to fill someone’s metaphorical cup. Professor Andrea Davis explains emotional labour, our responsibility to seek to know, and how “doing better” isn’t a quick and easy process. Connect with our guests below: Frederick Joseph IG: @FredTJosephTw: @FredTJoseph Andrea Davis: Tw: @Adavis777A Follow us! Twitter: @IQ_Podcast Instagram: @IQ_Podcast For transcripts of this series, please visit:
    28 July 2021, 4:10 am
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