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 | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Satendar Singh Remembered: Would Have Been 29 Today

Remembering Satendar Singh

July 21 marks the birthday of Satendar Singh, the victim of a 2007 anti-gay hate crime in Lake Natoma State Park in California. Russian evangelical Christians mobbed Satendar, shouted homophobic slurs, and beat him severely enough to cause a fatal brain injury. What began as a day to picnic and dance with friends is now a day of mourning for the LGBT community.

On Satendar’s birthday, we remember and celebrate his life.  Singh would have been 28 years old today.


This “Being Gay Today” video describes the events leading to Satendar Singh’s death:

July 21, 2008 Posted by | Asian Americans, Beatings and battery, California, gay men, mob-violence and lynching, religious intolerance, Remembrances, Slurs and epithets | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Poison Pen Pal Scott Lively Writes Gay People: “I Love You, But You Deserve Hell”

Anti-LGBTQ Activist Scott Lively

Springfield, Massachusetts – In an example of the worst religion-based bigotry of this generation, a longtime promoter of violent rhetoric against the LGBTQ community published an open letter claiming to love gay people with a message of hate.  Scott Lively, founder of Abiding Truth Ministries in Springfield, Massachusetts, has targeted gays and lesbians for criminalization on three continents, and is on the Montgomery, Alabama Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of Hate Groups.  The SPLC in its “Hatewatch: Keeping an Eye on the Radical Right” bulletin reports that Lively posted an RSVP letter to “LGBTs” on his DefendtheFamily.com website on Monday. Lively says he “loves” gays, but they are all bound for hell, and need help.

As the SPLC notes, Lively has worked feverishly for three decades to defame and outlaw gays and lesbians in his speaking and publishing.  His only work of note is The Pink Swastika, a thoroughly discredited screed in which Lively contends that the Nazi movement was a homosexual plot.  By implication, Lively accuses LGBTQ people of instigating World War II and the execution of untold millions. While no reputable historian credits a thing he says, right wing Slavic Christian extremists have promoted the book throughout the old Soviet Bloc and beyond.  Lively has been influential in the Watchmen On the Walls ministries, which has calls gays and lesbians a disease that requires an “divine penicillin” and expressions of “muscular Christianity” to cure.  He is one of the prime advocates of reparative therapy in sub-Saharan Africa.  In Uganda, Lively testified before lawmakers as the infamous “Kill the Gays” bill was making its way through Parliament.  Now that the Ugandan government is reconsidering the stalled bill, which makes homosexual activity punishable by death, Lively’s pseudo-science and religious distortions will come into play again, urging state-sanctioned violence and oppression against LGBTQ people.

In this country, Lively excused the hate crime murder of gay immigrant Satendar Singh by Slavic Christian fundamentalists in Sacramento.  Singh’s murder heightened tensions between the LGBTQ community and Russian and Slavic fundamentalist churches, as reported at chapter length in the recent book by Dr. Stephen Sprinkle, Unfinished LivesIn effect, Lively has declared war on the LGBTQ community  time and time again. In a letter to the Washington Times on June 23, 2003, Lively wrote: “No clear-thinking person believes that the homosexual sexual ethic and that of the family-based society can peacefully coexist. …One must prevail at the expense of the other.”  At a Russian conference in Novosibirsk in August 2007, Lively’s violent metaphors came out in the open: “There is a war that is going on in the world. There is a war that is waging across the entire face of the globe. It’s been waging in the United States for decades, and it’s been waging in Europe for decades. It’s a war between Christians and homosexuals.”

In Lively’s RSVP letter to the LGBT community, though he changes his tone, there is no reason to believe he has moderated any of his virulent, anti-gay intentions for outlawing and criminalizing people based on their sexual orientation and gender variant identity.  He claims that God gave him a “Word” in March to speak directly to the gay community.  He writes to LGBTQ people: “I am appealing to you to begin to agree with God about homosexual sin, and to turn away from the seductive lie that God approves of homosexuality and wants you to embrace a homosexual identity . . . You must repent to be saved.”  Lively particularly singles out Open and Affirming Churches, which welcome LGBTQ people and celebrate their lives and loves, and reduces Christian faith to a condemnation of anyone who deviates from Lively’s norms.  Lively also condemns any attempt from the gay and lesbian community to do theology at odds with his own: “’Gay theology’ turns the logic of the Bible on its head, and tries to make the sinner “good enough” to earn heaven . . . This is a dangerous lie that leads straight to hell.”  The solution for LGBTQ people is to rush to Exodus International for anti-gay aversion brainwashing.

In an astonishing attempt to prey upon LGBTQ people who suffer from internalized homophobia, he finishes his letter with a simpering self-justification: “In publishing this letter I know that I will be subjecting myself to ridicule, abuse and hatred. You know very well how nasty some of your peers can be. Yet I am doing it anyway, because in Jesus I love you and I want you to be saved . . . Frankly, as I sit here at my computer, I wonder whether my entire career against your political and social agenda, and all of the notoriety I have achieve in your community might all have occurred so that I would be a person whose letter you would read today.”

Scott Lively is an example of the worst religious bigotry active in America today.  SPLC’s Ryan Lenz writes that Lively began his career in bigotry in 1992 seeking to classify homosexuality on a par with pedophilia and sadomasochism.  He has not changed, nor are his motives ever to be trusted.  Ask Satendar Singh’s family. 

October 27, 2011 Posted by | "Kill the Gays Bill", Alabama, Anglo Americans, Anti-Gay Hate Groups, Anti-LGBT hate crime, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Beatings and battery, bi-phobia, Bisexual persons, California, gay men, gender identity/expression, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, Homosexuality and the Bible, Internalized homophobia, Lesbian women, LGBTQ, Massachusetts, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, religious hate speech, religious intolerance, Russia, Russian Federation, Scott Lively, Social Justice Advocacy, Southern Poverty Law Center, transgender persons, transphobia, Uganda | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Shoot Nudists Before They Bugger You”: Video Game That Targets LGBT People

HUNTERX390Advocate.com posts an article today on a video game arousing a furious debate in the former Soviet republic of Georgia.  The game features a hunter with a double barreled shotgun hunting down nude gay people, and shooting them before they “bugger” the game’s players.  The game, “Watch Out Behind You, Hunter!” was developed by an outfit named France 24.com, and was first launched in 2002, according to the author of the post, Neal Broverman.  Interestingly, the game has been banned in France for some time.  Defending the game, Jean Christophe Calvet who runs the Uzinagaz site that hosts the game, says, “The guy who came up with the game, Stéphane Aguie, wanted to mock hunters and rednecks, not gay men. Our games are not politically correct. They’re aimed at teenagers and it’s true that they’re of a juvenile humor. I realize now that this one in particular could be found shocking, but I believe that you should be able to make this kind of joke in the name of freedom of speech. Incidentally, not everyone in the gay community was supportive of banning the game.”  Gay Armenia, an LGBT rights group in the region, has stridently criticized the game for its playful and demeaning use of LGBT people as targets for gamers to “kill” in cyberspace.  While this is a foreign-developed and deployed video game, the virulent anti-gay culture present in many of the old Soviet republics, including the Russian Federation, makes this homophobic matter of concern even here in the United States.  The murder of Satendar Singh in July 2007 by Slavic fundamentalist Christians who emigrated to the U.S. is a notable case in point.  This is beyond twisted.  Young people are encouraged to think of gay men as sexual perverts, sub-humans, and worthy targets for murder whose very existence is a “threat” to the gamers and must be eliminated.  This is not free speech.  It is an endorsement of anti-LGBT bias, and an incitement to violence.  Bullying in middle and senior high schools is the seedbed of physical violence against gay and lesbian people later.  The infamous “gay panic defense” is also rooted in homophobic practices like this game, that teach fear and dehumanization and desensitizes youth to the exercise of physical violence.  The Unfinished Lives Project urges an international outcry against this detestable game, and any others similar to it.

July 19, 2009 Posted by | anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Blame the victim, Bullying in schools, gay men, gay panic defense, gun violence, harassment, Media Issues | , , , , , , | Comments Off on “Shoot Nudists Before They Bugger You”: Video Game That Targets LGBT People

“Remain Vigilant!” Warns Southern Poverty Law Center


Montgomery, AL – In a letter to supporters dated June 17,  J. Richard Cohen, CEO and President of the Southern Poverty Law Center urges the entire SPLC network to “remain vigilant” in the wake of the murder of Holocaust Memorial Museum Security Guard Stephen Johns.  The SPLC carries out the most extensive program of tracking hate groups and extremist organizations of any non-governmental organization in the nation, most recently on the anti-LGBT hate monger, Scott Lively and his band of co-extremists, Watchmen on the Walls.  Two Slavic Christian fundamentalists from Sacramento, CA with ties to Lively’s group carried out a fatal attack on gay East Indian immigrant Satendar Singh during the July 4 holiday season of 2008.  Cohen’s important letter reads in part:

“In addition to the Holocaust Museum shooting, we’ve seen the murders of five police officers by extremists in recent months and the assassination of a prominent Kansas physician by an extremist tied to the anti-government militia movement.  These killers may have acted alone, but they were all influenced by the hate movement in America. What’s alarming is that this movement is now being aided and abetted by far-right pundits on cable TV and talk radio, who are fanning the flames of hate with their increasingly hysterical rhetoric targeting President Obama, the government, Latino immigrants and others who are not like them. These are the same commentators who ridiculed the recent Department of Homeland Security that predicted the very kind of violent attacks we’re now seeing.”  Cohen concludes by urging all fair-minded Americans to stand firm against hatred:  “We all need to speak out against hate — whether it’s in the national media or in our communities….  We hope the lessons from this latest tragedy won’t soon fade from our national consciousness.”

June 18, 2009 Posted by | African Americans, Alabama, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Anti-Semitism, Domestic Violence, gay men, gun violence, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Neo-Nazis and White Supremacy, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Racism, religious intolerance, Social Justice Advocacy | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on “Remain Vigilant!” Warns Southern Poverty Law Center

Law and Order

Appropriate justice in anti-gay hate crimes remains an elusive prospect.  Lesser charges and reduced sentences for hate crime perpetrators point to a legal system that refuses to recognize the full humanity of the victims.  Because the victims are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, the murders are regarded as less offensive in the eyes of courts, judges, and juries in many communities.

Take for example the May 2007 murder of Sean Kennedy, age 20, in Greenville County, South Carolina.  Despite the brutal nature of Kennedy’s murder, the man who shouted anti-gay epithets and used his fists to beat his victim to the ground was able to avoid a lengthy jail sentence.  Stephen Moller, the man arrested and brought to trial in the Kennedy murder case, had the charges reduced from murder to involuntary manslaughter.

In addition to having the charge downgraded to manslaughter, Moller’s original sentence of five years in prison was first reduced to three years, and then shortened by seven months for time already served.  In the end, Moller’s entire prison sentence will most likely come to about a year and a half.

According to a June 2008 article in the Box Turtle Bulletin, the South Carolina Equity Court of Appeals has said that torturing animals can result in a sentence of five years.  In the hate crime murder case of Sean Kennedy, the justice system has made the life of a dog more valuable than a human being’s.

Or consider the case of Aleksandr Shevchenko, the man charged with a hate crime after fatally beating Satendar Singh at Lake Natoma, California, in 2007. When a jury deadlocked in Shevchenko’s trial, the court instead convicted Singh’s killer for disturbing the peace and simple assault. The court sentenced Shevchenko to 150 days in jail. An August 2, 2008, article published by the Sacramento Bee reported the Sacramento District Attorney’s Office will not retry Shevchenko on the hate crime charge. Because of the verdict, the value of Satendar Singh’s life has been reduced to approximately five months in jail.

Miscarriages of justice, like in the cases of Sean Kennedy and Satendar Singh, occur in communities across America.

Read a related article at the website for WYFF channel 4 News in South Carolina.

July 6, 2008 Posted by | | 4 Comments

The Victims

The one thing these victimized people share is an unfinished life: love foreclosed, potential ripped away, relationships brutally terminated, and future contributions stolen away from us by outrageous, irrational hatred. The stories of these unfinished lives must not remain untold. Human dignity and decency demand they be told and remembered. To date, claiming the victims of anti-gay hate crime violence has happened only sporadically, and in fragmentary, short-lived ways. The LGBT community deserves to hear these stories, so that they may remember their own and honor them. How we, the living survivors of violence, remember and honor our dead largely determines the strength and character of our humanity. Unless stories like these are told, regardless of the pain, the killers of the dream of freedom from fear will diminish our community.   Those we remember and claim as our own:
Andrew Anthos ( 1929– 2007). 72-years-old, bludgeoned to death with a pipe near a bus stop in Detroit, Michigan, after affirming to his assailant that he was gay.
Gwen Amber Rose Araujo (1985 – 2002). A male-to-female transgender woman from Hayward, California, murdered with a skillet and a can of tomatoes, and buried in a shallow grave.
Gregory Beauchamp, 21
Gregory Beauchamp (1981-2002), 21, shot to death from a car window in Cincinnati, OH by a man shouting anti-gay epithets.  Beauchamp was on his way to a New Year’s Eve party.
Tiffany Berry (1985-2006).  21-year-old African American transwoman, murdered in Memphis, TN, by a man who said he didn’t like the way she touched him.
Paul Broussard (1964 – 1991). 27-years-old, gay banker beaten to death by a gang of ten teenage boys as he left a gay nightclub in the Montrose area of Houston, Texas.
Bill Clayton (1978 – 1995). A seventeen-year-old bisexual man in Olympia, Washington, who was assaulted in a gay bashing incident, became an outspoken advocate for hate crimes laws for a short time, and took his own life barely a month after the attack.
Amancio “Dalia” Corrales (1982 – 2005). A Mexican-American cosmetologist and gifted female impersonator who was stabbed to death and thrown in the Colorado River in Yuma, Arizona.
Kenneth Cummings Jr. (1960 – 2007). Southwest Airlines attendant in Metro Houston murdered in his own home by an ex-con who claimed God commissioned him to kill gay men, “like the Prophet Elijah.”
Roberto “Pancho” Duncanson (1987 – 2007). 20-years-old, stabbed to death by an assailant shouting anti-gay epithets, in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York.
Bella Evangelista (1978 – 2003). 25-years-old, transgender Latina, shot to death by a transphobe in Washington, DC.
Daniel “Dano” Fetty (1966 – 2004). A deaf and homeless gay man from Waverly, Ohio, stripped naked and literally thrown away in a dumpster.
Billy Jack Gaither (1960 – 1999). A gay man, brutally murdered and immolated near Sylacauga, Alabama at a secluded site on Peckerwood Creek.
Edgar “Eddie” Garzón (1966 – 2001). 35-years-old, gay Colombian emigré who worked as a theatre set designer, beaten into a coma outside a gay bar in Queens, New York, and died three weeks later.
Michael Scott Goucher (1987-2009).  21-year-old U.S. Army veteran, ambushed by two assailants and stabbed over 45 times on the side of a snowy road in Price Township, Pennsylvania.
Sakia LaTona Gunn (1987 – 2003). An African American lesbian from Newark, New Jersey, stabbed by assailants at a bus stop, while defending her girlfriend.
Richard Hernandez (1970 – 2008). 38-years-old, gruesomely dismembered in his North Dallas, Texas, apartment.
Charles O. “Charlie” Howard (1961 – 1984). A gay student drowned after being thrown by his assailants into the Kenduskeag Stream in downtown Bangor, Maine, while begging that he couldn’t swim.
Duanna Johnson (1965-2008). 43-year-old African American transwoman, famously beaten by police in June 2008, was fatally shot in the head “on her usual corner” in North Memphis, TN just a few months later.  Johnson had a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the Memphis police at the time.
Sean William Kennedy (1987 – 2007). Fatally assaulted by an 18-year-old in Greenville, South Carolina who received less of a sentence for the murder than if he had killed a dog, according to Greenville municipal statutes.
Lawrence Fobes “Larry” King (1993 – 2008). A fifteen-year-old in Oxnard, California, shot in the head with a small calibre pistol brought to class by a 14-year-old schoolmate who had harassed him for his feminine presentation for months.
Talana Quay Kreeger (1957 – 1990). A lesbian carpenter, manually disemboweled by a long haul trucker in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Fred C. Martinez Jr. (1985 – 2001). A Two-Spirit Navajo lured into a Cortez, Colorado, canyon and killed with a twenty-five pound rock by a man who bragged that he had “bug-smashed a joto.”
Thanh Nguyen (1962 – 1991). A gay Vietnamese American who fled to Dallas, Texas, for freedom, only to be shot and killed in downtown Reverchon Park.
Michael J. Sandy (1977 – 2006). An African American gay man, beaten and forced on foot into freeway traffic in New York City.
Allen R. Schindler Jr. (1969 – 1992). A United States Navy Seaman from the Chicago area, stomped to death by his shipmates while deployed in Japan.
Matthew Wayne Shepard (1976 – 1998). A gay student at the University of Wyoming, pistol-whipped and tied to a buck fence in Laramie.
Adolphus Simmons (1990 – 2008). An 18-year-old, femininely presenting teen, shot to death while carrying out his trash in North Charleston, South Carolina.
Satendar Singh (1980 – 2007). A gay Asian Indian American mobbed to death in Lake Natoma, California, by Russian evangelical Christians shouting homophobic slurs.
Ryan Keith Skipper (1981 – 2007). Stabbed nineteen times and left to bleed out on a lonely dirt road by two assailants in Polk County, Florida.
Emonie Spaulding (1978 – 2003). 25-years-old, African American transgender woman, beaten and shot to death in Washington, DC.
Brandon Teena (1971-1993). A 22-year-old female-to-male transgender person, raped and murdered in Humboldt, Nebraska.
Juana Vega (1965 – 2001). 36-years-old, Chicana Lesbian shot to death in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by her partner’s brother who disapproved of her sexual orientation.
Jeremy Waggoner (1971– 2008). Popular 37-year-old hair stylist, found savagely bludgeoned and stabbed to death in a field near Royal Oak, Michigan.
Arthur “J.R.” Warren (1974-2000). An African American learning disabled  gay man from Grant Town, West Virginia, butchered to death and then run over multiple times to mask the murder.
Scotty Joe Weaver (1986 – 2004). Brutally tortured and murdered by roommates while pleading for his life in Bay Minette, Alabama.  His murderers urinated on his mutilated body before immolating it in a secluded field in rural Baldwin County.
Nicolas West (1970 – 1993). 23-years-old, shot 20 times and left to die in a clay pit outside Tyler, Texas.
Diane Whipple (1968-2001). A lesbian LaCrosse coach from Moraga, California, mauled to death by her neighbors’ dogs in the infamous San Francisco Dog-Maul case.
Ebony Whitaker (1988 – 2008). 20-year-old male-to-female transgender woman, shot to death by an unknown assailant in Memphis, Tennessee.
Robert Whiteside (1950 – 2006). Noted Fabergé artist, found shot to death in his bed-and-breakfast in Mount Vernon, Texas.
Julianne “Julie” Williams (1971 – 1996). A lesbian gunned down with partner Lollie Winans on the Appalachian Trail near Luray, Virginia.
Simmie Lewis “Beyoncé” Williams Jr. (1990 – 2008). A seventeen-year-old African American transperson, snuffed out clothed in a dress on Sistrunk Avenue in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Laura “Lollie” Winans (1970 – 1996). A lesbian gunned down with partner Julie Williams on the Appalachian Trail near Luray, Virginia.
Barry Winchell
Barry Winchell (1977 – 1999). A United States Army Private First Class from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, fatally bludgeoned with a baseball bat.
Daniel Yakovleff (1988– 2008). Well-regarded hair stylist found brutally stabbed to death in his Boston, Massachusetts, apartment.
Angie Zapata (1988– 2008). 20-year-old Latina transgender woman, murdered with a fire extinguisher by a date who discovered that she was biologically male in Greeley, Colorado.

June 30, 2008 Posted by | | 74 Comments


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