A National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs report has revealed that gay bias-related killings in America were at their highest level for ten years in 2008.

The report recorded 29 murders during 2008, which is an increase of 28 per cent on a year ago.

“We are deeply troubled about the 2008 statistics,” said Rebecca Waggoner Kloek, an anti-violence programme director for Minnesota.

Overall, violence against LGBT people increased two per cent from 2007 to 2008, although 2007 saw a 24 per cent total increase in anti-LGBT hate violence across America.

The report examined data compiled from 2,424 LGBT people who had experienced hate violence across America, including Chicago, Colorado, Houston, Los Angeles, Minnesota and New York.

The rise in homophobic killings has been linked to the increased prominence of gay issues such as same-sex marriages, ‘the military gay ban and federal benefits, particularly surrounding the presidential campaign.

“The more visibility there is the more likely we’re going to see backlash,” explained Sharon Stapel, executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project. “And that’s exactly what we see here.”