CHARLOTTE — The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has stepped up to the challenge of defending against hate crimes here in the Tar Heel state by dedicating an agent to oversee investigations, especially those perpetrated against LGBT people.

ENC Executive Director Ian Palmquist met with the agent recently to discuss the effects of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

According to ENC, “The act amends the 1969 U.S. federal hate crime law to include violent hate crimes committed because of real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Under the 2009 act, the FBI has the authority to investigate these acts of violence and it protects all people equally without considering immigration status. This is also the first federal law to include legal protections for transgender people. … The new law gives federal authorities greater ability to engage in hate crimes investigations that local authorities choose not to pursue and it requires the FBI to track statistics on hate crimes against transgender people. (Statistics for the other groups are already tracked.) This new federal civil rights law criminalizes willfully causing bodily injury or attempting to do so (with fire, a firearm or other dangerous weapon) when the crime was committed because of the actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of any person.”

Know of someone who might be a victim of such crimes? Incidents in North Carolina are reportable to the FBI Field Office by calling 704-377-9200 or by email

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Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' former associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director.