The name of Uncomfortable Questions, an ongoing vlog by Denver's Cassy Huidobro, wasn't chosen at random.
Among the uncomfortable questions she's asked guests on the series thus far: "Religious science. Does that make sense?," "What is the answer to homophobia?" and "On being transgender. Is it okay to ask if you’ve had the surgery?"
Huidobro is a native of Peru who grew up in the States and has lived in Colorado for the past six years. The seeds for her vlog were sown by Is Anyone Else Feeling the Same Way?, a book she self-published last year.
"The book begins with questions that sometimes make people uncomfortable — questions about spirituality and God that I started asking when I was in the third grade," she says. "These are questions that are going to make or break a conversation, and sometimes when they're asked about spirituality, people put up a little bit of a wall."
After completing the book, Huidobro decided to chip away at this barrier: "I thought, why not ask some of the questions I still have to people from the actual faith traditions or groups? So I contacted a few people from faith traditions in Denver, and they welcomed me with open arms."
Here's her clip about religious science:
Indeed, Huidobro discovered that experts actually like to talk about topics that put other folks on edge, if only to dispel myths that tend to calcify over the years.
According to her, "I've discovered that if you go to the source, you're able to receive an education, and you'll find the topic wasn't so taboo at all by tackling it straight on."
It helps that her approach isn't confrontational. "In no way are my questions disrespectful or framed in a disrespectful way. And before I hit the 'record' button, I always make sure they know that it's going to be posted on social media."
For one effort, Huidobro headed to a local Sikh temple to ask, "Why do you wear a turban?" Get that answer and more below.
The gentle, earnest style Huidobro uses in her clips helps her interview subjects feel at ease even when the questions are controversial.
For example, she says, "I talked to a Muslim man and Muslim woman. I asked him, 'What's your view about women?,' especially because there are so many ways that's portrayed in the media, and he gave an incredible answer. And then I asked the woman about wearing the veil. And she put it in a way that was great and really let you understand where she was coming from."
Before long, Huidobro ventured beyond faith into social subjects. "I interviewed a woman who was a victim of domestic violence for a number of years, and I asked her, 'Why didn't you leave?' She gave me a beautiful explanation. And I talked to two transgender individuals, a trans man and a trans woman. I asked the questions no one knows if they should ask, and I loved their answers."
See that exchange here.
Don't worry about Huidobro running out of material. She's spent a lifetime thinking up uncomfortable questions, and her vlog gives her an opportunity to get the answers she's always sought.
"The underlying theme is communication," she points out. "If we talk more — different people from different backgrounds and different knowledge — I do believe we'd get along more."
She adds, "It's a pleasure doing this. I originally did it for myself, just because I wanted to know. But the more I do it, the more I think everyone wants to know more about someone who's different from them."
But were too embarrassed to ask.