Sacramento, July 18, 2007
On July 1, 2007 Satendar Singh, 26, was with six friends of Fijian
and Indian descent at a picnic area near Lake Natoma, east of
Sacramento, California. A group of Slavic (Russian) men picnicking
with their families at the lake allegedly noticed that, Satendar
did not have a female date, and he danced with both women and
men in his party. They perceived him as a gay. Witnesses reported
that the attackers began hurling anti-gay and racist invectives.
The Sacramento Bee reported that the man's friends told reporters
he was not a gay
As things escalated, the attackers sent their families home and
called for backup. When a new group of Russian speaking men showed
up, the party tried to leave, but were blocked by the attackers.
One of the men struck Satendar, who fell unconscious, his head
bleeding profusely. As the attackers went to their cars to get
away, they hurled bottles at the members of Satendar’s party.
One member of this party was a petite and young woman who is 6-months
Shortly before 9:00 p.m. California State Park Rangers responded
to a call for service at Lake Natoma State Park involving an altercation
He died July 5 at Mercy San Juan Medical Center near Sacramento,
Calif., after a four-day struggle to recover from head trauma.
His family and friends numbered over 100 at the hospital. Singh's
parents are in Fiji with no way to come to Sacramento, so the
painful decision to unplug his life support fell on his aunt and
Sheriff’s detectives believe the victim was injured during
a physical altercation that resulted from a day-long verbal confrontation
between groups of Russians and East Indians. The Russians were
seen leaving the area in two vehicles: a dark green four-door
sedan (no further description) and a Red Mitsubishi (no further
description) with a red DMV number “7” sticker affixed
to the rear window.
“They were targeting him because Satendar was dancing to
Indian music throughout the rest of the day, like the rest of
us…I don’t know what (the Russians) were saying or
if Satendar said something back, but then it happened,”
the witness said
Well, what the gay community has feared for some time has finally
happened. After a couple years of fundamentalist and Slavic Christian
virulent anti-gay protests at almost every Sacramento gay event
in the region, and after years of relative safety in the Sacramento
gay community, the homophobic hatred has turned deadly. Today
the life support plug will be pulled on a young East Indian gay
man killed in a gay bashing at Lake Natomas on Sunday by a group
of Slavic Christians.
The Sacramento Bee reported that the man's friends told reporters
he is not gay, but family members discussing the murder with Being
Gay Today's Nathan Feldman, said they knew of Satendar Singh's
sexual orientation, and that it had never interfered with their
deep love for him. Singh was a recent immigrant to America, having
won a lottery for a green card, earning him the nickname "The
Lucky One" among his family and friends.
The Sacramento Sheriff’s department initially decided against
investigating the murder as a hate crime, and expressed doubt
that the murder was premeditated, despite the Slavic men having
sent their families home and having called for back up.
Lesbian activist Marghe Covino, who has been warning the GLBT
community for years about the fact that American fundamentalists
have been stoking the fires of homophobia in the new immigrants
from Russian and the Ukraine in order to use them as proxies against
the gay community was at the hospital comforting Singh’s
family. It was a task she had hoped to never again have to do
Darrell Steinberg, California State Senator said, "Here
is what we pledge tonight as Sacramentans - we will not tolerate
hate, hate speech or violence in any form against the gay and
lesbian community or any community of Sacramento."
Over 300 people attended the Community Vigil held at the World
Peace Garden at Capitol Park on July 6, 2007. Muslim leaders,
Sikh leaders, Pastors and Faith leaders, and API leaders were
all represented, as well as, Senator Darrell Steinberg, Assemblymember
Dave Jones, West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, and Yolo
County Supervisor Mariko Yamada. We heard from many members of
the community that an attack on one of us is an attack on all
Here is a link to a video that Nate Feldman, from “Being
Gay Today”, produced from that very moving Vigil:
A group of Slavic men's reaction when they observe Satendar did
not have a female date, and he danced with both women and men
in his party
Russian Orthodox Christians and Russians in general are perhaps
the most homophobic group on the planet outside the Islamic world.
I was born and grew up in Russia and while I was living there
I have never met a single pro-gay person (unless that person himself
happened to be gay).
Unfortunately, many westerners don't know about how homophobic
most Russians are. Westerners often naively assume that they can
travel to Russia and expect to be treated like in any other civilized
country. I am sorry to say that this is not so. Gay men and women
ought to be aware that Russia is an extremely homophobic country.
Most Russian immigrants living in the US are also extremely homophobic
and judgmental. Moreover, they tend to be violent (especially
when drunk) unlike American Christian fundamentalists who might
hate your guts but are unlikely to attack you physically.
The gay community in the US should have been more active in helping
Russian gays to prepare and organize the Gay Pride Parade in Moscow
on May 27th. The mayor of Moscow once again prohibited it but
the Russian gay community went ahead and held it anyway. The police,
skinheads, Russian nationalists and Orthodox Christian fanatics
prevented Russian gays from marching in Moscow. Surprisingly,
very few gays in the US reacted to this outrageous event, let
alone noticed it. There were almost no expressions of solidarity
with Russian gays, no attempts to put pressure on the mayor of
Moscow, no letters to the Russian embassy, etc... Only a small
group of 4 people held a vigil outside the Russian consulate in
We must also learn to be proactive in protecting our community.
It is important, in my opinion, to be aware of one's surroundings
and take notice of any large groups of young men, especially if
they happen to be Russian, Ukrainian, or Serbian. Many tragic
accidents could have been prevented if our community could educate
young gay men and women to analyze their environment, to notice
potential dangers and to react to them accordingly. This is not
to say, of course, that the blame is on the victim. On the contrary.
Nothing can justify the behaviour of Christian Orthodox homophiobic
scumbags. Nveretheless, we must be smart about protecting ourselves.
Several investigators have warned the Sacramento community for
years about the fact that American fundamentalists have been stoking
the fires of homophobia in new immigrants from Russian and the
Ukraine, in order to use them for political agendas.
A small number of Russian-speaking preachers presiding over huge
congregations are allegedly spreading the message that it’s
their God given right to kill homosexuals, among other radical
interpretations of the Bible. Protests against homosexual events
and others have been organized within a number of these churches.
Over 80 of these churches exist within the Sacramento area; some
have over 5,000 members.
Not all of these churches are intolerant and preach hate, but
a small handful of politically and financially-influenced preachers
are capable of moving vast numbers of faithful followers. A growing
number of these churches are becoming organized along the West
Coast of the United States.
Actualy this is tussle between Russian Orthodox Christian 5000
members and Gay community in Sacramento. Satendar Singh's name
has been associated as Gay in head lines news as below:
- Gay Immigrant Man, Satendar Singh, Dies in Sacramento From
- Labels: Gay bashing death, Satendar Singh
Now NRI community have to very careful to blame on Russian Orthodox