Friday, July 06, 2007

Gay Immigrant Man, Satendar Singh, Dies in Sacramento From Brutal Bashing

(RIP: Satendar Singh)

With much sadness I am sharing a note I received today from my friend writer Patricia Nell Warren regarding the death yesterday of an immigrant gay male in Sacramento.

His name was Satendar Singh and attention much be brought to bear on the circumstances leading to his death, because no one has yet been apprehended or charged in his demise. Singh's death is receiving a modicum of mainstream press coverage in the Sacramento area, and I hope my post will generate some attention in the gay press and gay blogger community.

Click here to read mainstream stories about Singh's death and the hate crime perpetrated against him.

Hi Mike,
I'm sure you'll have something to say about this, especially since there has hardly been a ripple about it in the gay news media.

Forwarded Message:

Dear Friends and Family,

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.

Apparently a group of Slavic Christian men picnicking with their families near Singh's friends at the lake on Sunday noticed that, unlike the rest of his group, Singh did not have a female date, and he danced with both women and men in his party. The Slavic men began hurling anti-gay and racist invectives. As things escalated, the Slavic men sent their families home and called for backup.

When a new group of Slavic men showed up, the East Indian party tried to leave, but were blocked by the Slavic men. One of the men punched Singh, who fell unconscious, hit his head, and began bleeding profusely. As the attackers went to their cars to get away, they hurled bottles at the members of Singh's party, one a pregnant young woman, to keep them from seeing their license plates.

Singh regained consciousness briefly, but lapsed into unconsciousness before being taken to Mercy San Juan hospital where tests indicated no brain activity. 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 uncle.

There will be a memorial service for Singh out at Lake Natomas on Saturday. The family is asking that people show up to express their support of the family and their opposition to anti-gay violence. As soon as I have details on the times and exact location, I will forward this information on. This is an opportunity for people of good will to show their outrage at this resurgence of Homophobia.

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 in Sacramento.

Please feel free to forward this notice to any people of good will who might wish to support the family.

With tears,


PS: As I was writing this a young Black man and an older white man came to my door to share the Good News about Jesus. Bitter irony.


Anonymous said...

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 New York.

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.

Anonymous said...

The issue here is not the fact the young man killed was an immigrant, but rather immigrants killed a gay man.

The GLBTQI community had better wake up to the fact the politically-correct position of supporting immigration reform is a dangerous proposition for us all. The Bush administration and otheer suppporters of immigration reform know the people benefiting most from the reform are conservative in every sense.

The fact Slavics had been led to feel it was acceptable to hurl insults and physically assault a man based on his sexual orientation is a wake-up call to us all. We HAVE to be less concerned about immigration issues and more conceerned about securing equal rights or this will keep happening again and again. Unfortunately, this is not the first time this has happenned. A hate-killing of a gay man in Dallas was perpetrated by illegal immigrants in 1999 or 2000.

Taking a stand against immigration reform does not mean we are intolerant. Taking a stand against immigration reform means we care enough abot ourselves to protect ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Taking a stand against immigration reform does not mean we are intolerant.

It absolutely would make us intolerant. Can you please explain how the solution to hate could possibly be more hate?

Anonymous said...

Terrific -- an immigrant committed a hate crime, so now all immigrants should be made to pay. Why not call for a campaign against all Christians? Using a single incident to justify ones own anti-immigrant bias is akin to evangelists interpreting language in the Bible to justify their own homophobia. Does it bug anyone besides me that so many in are community prefer "looking out for our own" to "justice for all"?