Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Satendar Singh Remembered: Would Have Been 29 Today

Satendar Singh (July 21, 1980-July 5, 2007)

Satendar Singh (July 21, 1980-July 5, 2007)

Satendar Singh, gay Indo-Fijian immigrant to the United States, would have been 29 years old today.  He was fatally injured at California’s Lake Natoma State Park by Slavic fundamentalist Christians who shouted slurs at him on July 1, 2007, calling him “Hindu,” “7-11 Worker,” “Faggot,” and taunting him that he should “go to a good church” like they did.  Punched in the face by Andrey Vusik, a Russian car exporter who had just come from church that Sunday morning, Singh fell backward, striking his head on a concrete walk.  Though he regained consciousness for a short time, Singh went into a coma, losing all brain activity.  Since his parents lived 5,000 miles away in the South Pacific nation of Fiji, the decision to remove life support from him fell to his uncle and aunt, who like Singh, lived in Sacramento.  Vusik fled the United States, leaving his wife and three small children behind in West Sacramento, and is still at large.  An accomplice of his, Alexandr Shevchenko, stood trial in May 2008 for inciting a fight, assault, and a hate crime.  He was found guilty of the two misdemeanor charges, but the the jury deadlocked 7-5 on the hate crime charge.  Shevchenko was sentenced to 150 days in jail.  Singh’s fatal offense seems to have been dancing with both men and women friends who went to the lake with him to celebrate his promotion at work.  Friction between Slavic fundamentalist Christians who teach that homosexuality is a sin and the large LGBT population of Sacramento had been growing for over two years, with thousands of “Russian Baptists” and Pentecostals from Russia, Uzbekistan, the Ukraine, and Belorussia who emigrated to the US for religious freedom protesting any public LGBT celebration or event in the Sacramento Valley.  LGBT rights advocates feared that something deadly might happen one day, and they point to Satendar Singh’s murder as evidence that they were right.  The two men who attacked Singh and his party of friends had ties to the anti-gay extremist group, Watchmen On the Walls, featured in the Intelligence Report of the Southern Poverty Law Center.  Singh, a Sikh and not a Hindu as his attackers falsely assumed, was transported back to Fiji for the last rites of his funeral.  Rest in peace, sweet brother!

July 21, 2009 - Posted by | anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Beatings and battery, Blame the victim, California, gay men, harassment, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Remembrances | , , , , , , ,

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