Queer mom and gender-fluid child host Socially Outward podcast on otherwise awkward subjects

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      As parent and child, Babette Santos and Jade share a unique bond.

      It is founded on love and devotion.

      On another level, they have also built a special relationship.

      They’re gender rebels. As such, they’re bosom buddies in defying binary terms set by social norms and biology.

      “My mom goes by they-them pronouns, and I go by he-him pronouns,” Jade told the Straight in a phone interview together with Santos.

      Jade is a 15-year-old high school student in Vancouver.

      Santos related: “I’ve known Jade has been queer for a long time. Being a queer mom made it easy for Jade.”

      Santos is a cofunder of the Kathara Pilipino Indigenous Arts Collective Society.

      On behalf of the Vancouver arts group, Santos applied for a grant with ArtStarts in School for a media project.

      The project seeks to highlight the experiences of creative youth in racialized communities, especially in pockets where social conservatism runs strong.

      With an ArtStarts grant and support from UBC, the podcast Socially Outward was born.

      It aired a first episode on January 23, featuring multidisciplinary artist and gender-nonconformist Kim Villagante, who is also known as Kimmortal.

      Jade was supposed to be lone host for the podcast. However, the teen insisted on Santos being on board as well.

      “Mom is being shy, but I was like, no, it’s cool. I want my mom to be in the podcast, because it’s a unique relationship that I have with her,” Jade said in the phone interview.

      According to Jade, that relationship has a “dynamic and openness” typically not seen in the Filipino community, an ethnic group largely grounded on Catholicism.

      “Sharing that through the platform of Socially Outward, I think, is important because we’re breaking stigmas around that,” Jade said.

      Jade related in the many cases, the “relationship and dynamic between parents and their kids is very quiet”.

      “Like not really talking about things that are in the open, or they don’t talk to their parents about anything really that’s personal,” Jade explained.

      These are topics that make for awkward conversations in conventional families, and Socially Outward intends to bring these into the open.

      “Instead of like quietly mumbling about a bunch of things that are awkward to talk about…you’re like laughing…and talking about these awkward experiences openly in a big way, that’s more loud,” Jade said.

      Continuing, “Socially Outward is the opposite of being inward and the opposite of socially awkward.”

      Santos said that the podcast will feature four episodes. Socially Outward is recorded at the KW Studios in the Woodward’s heritage building. Veda Maharaj does the editing and filming for the podcast.

      Socially Outward cohost Jade Santos (left) with the podcast’s first guest, multidisciplinary artist Kim Villagante, who is also known as Kimmortal.

      Among the topics discussed in the maiden episode was decolonization, which involves breaking away from a system founded on the concept of superiority.

      Villagante or the artist known as Kimmortal deconstructs the concept on different levels, from accepting the truth about the theft of Indigenous lands in Canada to the inherent exploitative system of capitalism and the need for critical thinking that is unfettered by religious dogma.

      As Villagante said: “It’s like walking through the forest and feeling it all.”

      Socially Outward is found here.