Item 20.20-29 - Val Fishman

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Val Fishman

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CA JMABC A.1971.001-20.20-29

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  • December 8, 2020 (Creation)

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Born-digital audio (1:20:04)

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Interview with Val Fishman for On The Record: The BC Jewish Queer & Trans Oral History Project in collaboration with JQT Vancouver. Interviewed by Carmel Tanaka via remote Zoom video call. Val (she/her) is a Jewish lesbian born and living in Vancouver. Val talks about her family history originating in Eastern Europe, through Scotland to Canada and how her family became quite assimilated from Jewish culture in North America. Val talks about her parents’ anti-fascist activism and her own work within the Women’s Movement in BC. She reflects on finding spirituality through Wiccan or Pagan practice and how this intertwines with her Jewishness despite not being the common Jewish experience. Val talks about when she realized she was a lesbian, the difficulties of coming out, and only finding out she was of Jewish heritage at 30. She talks about her growing involvement with the Jewish community in Vancouver, including the Jewish Caucus of a BC women’s organizations. She talks about how her sexuality, class and culture intersects in Jewish, queer and/or women’s spaces and what could make these spaces more comfortable to occupy. Val closes with how gay culture has changed, the importance of looking to older individuals for wisdom, and how she came to her magic name, Ashtare.

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Interview has been transcribed. Interview also available as video.

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Name of interviewer: Carmel Tanaka

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Place of interview: Vancouver, BC

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Birthdate: 1947

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Birth place: Vancouver, BC

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