Coral Santana wants us to talk about sex.
That’s the focus of The Speakeasy Podcast, a new podcast hosted by Santana — the strategic communications and events assistant manager for the UBC Arts & Culture District — that seeks to destigmatize taboo topics in sex while highlighting minority voices.
The podcast is a part of ARTIVISM: Sex + the Unheard, a digital festival organized by the UBC Arts and Culture district. This is the third rendition of the festival, and the longest one yet, running from September 25–November 30.
The theme was chosen by Santana, who describes Sex + the Unheard as “an exploration of the human experience,” with a particular focus on inclusion.
“The way that I approached the theme is by highlighting minority voices, that being the LGBTQIA + communities, BIPOC communities, artists with disabilities and visibly religious artists, and how they deal with topics such as sex, sexuality, gender and ownership of [the] body.”
The Speakeasy Podcast is a place for these often unheard voices to be placed front and centre. Santana speaks with a diverse group of artists, who provide insight into topics “we’re curious about, but we don’t have access to.”
The episodes don’t have a strict format, the episodes are simply discussions that allow guests to speak about their lived experiences. Keeping the conversations open and natural is important to Santana, who wants listeners to feel more comfortable discussing similar issues in their own lives.
“You can chat with [your] friends about this because these are topics that affect us as well, or that affect them or affect our general community.”
The topics discussed in the podcast vary greatly and are completely dependent on the guests' personal experiences. In the first episode, Santana speaks with Shane Sable, a two-spirit burlesque performer and activist who discusses “reclaiming [her] body through art and through dance, especially with the trauma that is put on the Indigenous body”.
Her discussion with Hana Amani, a Vancouver based visual artist and David Ng, who is a current graduate student at The Social Justice Institute, focuses on their experiences with immigration and sexuality.
Evidently, these conversations go beyond the scope of sex — who is speaking is just as important as what they’re speaking about. The podcast gives minority voices the space to explore how sexuality is intertwined with their identities, rather than seeing them as separate.
One perk of the ARTIVISM’s transition from a brief, in-person festival to an extended digital festival is that its content is now more accessible than ever. The organizers of the event “wanted to take advantage of being able to spread out [the] events and [...] content,” while giving people the opportunity to explore the festival at their own pace.
In addition to being available 24/7 on several platforms, such as Spotify, Anchor and Google Podcasts, The Speakeasy Podcast is in the process of being transcribed so that it’s accessible for those who are hard of hearing or deaf. It’s a thoughtful consideration and one that goes hand in hand with what the podcast is all about: inclusion.