Inappropriate Questionswith Elena Hudgins Lyle and Harvinder Wadhwa


Is asking 'Where are you from?' appropriate small talk?

People are genuinely curious to learn about each others’ backgrounds or cultures. While this question might start a good conversation, it can also often make people feel othered and unwelcome.

Is it okay to ask an amputee 'What happened to you?'

Not every amputee has a shocking story behind their amputation, and those who do don’t always want to talk about.

'Can I speak to your manager?'

Asking for the manager can be loaded. It can reveal who we think holds the power in a business—and who we think doesn’t.

'How old are you?'

Is it rude to ask someone their age? Harv isn’t comfortable telling people how old he is anymore and he’s not alone.

'Have you tried _____?'

Well-meaning people propose lots of ways for people with chronic illnesses to treat their conditions.

'Are you full Native?'

Many Indigenous people get asked how much Indigenous ancestry they have. But identity isn’t all about fractions.

'How did you get pregnant?'

There are lots of ways to start a family as an LGBTQ+ person, and not all of them are well understood.

A death doula's guide on how best to support loved ones who are grieving

Kayla Moryoussef on what to say, what not to ask (how are you?), and other concrete tips for showing you really care.

'Damn right I can': Achieving body positivity in a fatphobic world

Plus-sized positivity advocate, Ivory, shares her expert tips on embracing your curves, including reclaiming “fat”, utilizing body neutrality and promoting whole body health.

"Why don't you have kids?"

People are curious about the choice to be childfree.

"Why do/don't you wear a headscarf?"

Some Muslim women cover their heads, and some don’t—either way, they get asked questions.

"Why don't you drink?"

Harv doesn’t drink alcohol, and he doesn’t have a problem with people asking him why. He and Elena speak to numerous guests to find out whether or not they think “Why don’t you drink?” is an inappropriate question.

"Can you have sex?"

People are curious about sex. They can be really curious about people with physical disabilities’ sex lives.

"What are you?"

Asking a mixed-race person about their background can get problematic.

"Have you had the surgery?"

Transgender folks can get asked invasive questions about their bodies.