On the first day of July, Satender Singh was gay-bashed to death.
The 26-year-old Fijian of Indian descent was enjoying a holiday weekend outing at Lake Natoma with three married Indian couples around his age. Singh was delicate and dateless -- two facts that did not go unnoticed by a party of Russian-speaking immigrants two picnic tables away.
According to multiple witnesses, the men began loudly harassing Singh and his friends, calling them "7-Eleven workers" and "Sodomites." The Slavic men bragged about belonging to a Russian evangelical church and told Singh that he should go to a "good church" like theirs. According to Singh's friends, the harassers sent their wives and children home, then used their cell phones to summon several more Slavic men. The members of Singh's party, which included a woman six months pregnant, became afraid and tried to leave. But the Russian-speaking men blocked them with their bodies.
The pregnant woman said she didn't want to fight them.
"We don't want to fight you either," one of them replied in English. "We just want your faggot friend."
A growing and ferocious anti-gay movement in the Sacramento Valley is centered among Russian- and Ukrainian-speaking immigrants. Many of them are members of an international extremist anti-gay movement whose adherents call themselves the Watchmen on the Walls.
In the Western U.S., the Watchmen have a following among Russian-speaking evangelicals from the former Soviet Union. Members are increasingly active in several cities long known as gay-friendly enclaves, including Sacramento, Seattle and Portland, Ore.
Vlad Kusakin, the host of a Russian-language anti-gay radio show in Sacramento and the publisher of a Russian-language newspaper in Seattle, told The Seattle Times in January that God has "made an injection" of high numbers of anti-gay Slavic evangelicals into traditionally liberal West Coast cities. "In those places where the disease is progressing, God made a divine penicillin," Kusakin said.
Dennis Mangers, a gay former California state senator who now lobbies for the cable industry, said that when he met a prominent leader of Sacramento's Slavic community at a 2006 weekend reconciliation retreat, the Slavic leader told him: "You have to understand, we equate homosexuals with thieves, adulterers and murderers. ... You are an abomination."
it's unfortunate that i read this at 1am, because i should be asleep and now i'm fucking pissed.
i'd like to know exactly how it's okay that we let these people immigrate into our country, and then they're going to tell our citizens what is and is not an acceptable way to live our lives.
the majority of my friends here in seattle are members of the LGBT community.
let me catch any of them threatening violence upon people close to me, or anyone else i've sworn an oath to protect.
if they live, i'll turn them over to homeland security as hate-crime terrorists.
if being the operative word.