Anthony Man Ho-fung, 33, has been a gay rights activist for nine years. He is one of the founders of Over the Rainbow, an organisation that specialises in helping families of those who are gay or lesbian. 'My mother always knew. She said she had observed me for a long time and suspected I was gay. But I never thought she would accept it. I came out to her when I was about 17. She was a little upset and we didn't talk for about a week. Then she came over and told me: 'Whatever you do, don't be promiscuous.' I thought that was very cute. My first boyfriend used to come to my home all the time and tutor my younger sister in maths. I've never been very good in maths myself. When I was 19, I told a staff member at my church about my sexuality. At that time, I broke up with my first boyfriend and needed to talk to somebody. He told me that if I wished to worship then it was okay, but if I were to start trouble, I would be kicked out. I was really hurt and stayed away from churches for a while until my friend told me about the Hong Kong Blessed Minority Christian Fellowship. When I got there I felt it was a place where gays and lesbians could talk openly. I felt I wasn't alone anymore. I used to think that if you are gay or lesbian, you are not accepted by the Lord. I think many people are against gays and lesbians because they don't have any gay friends or any knowledge about it. They just believe whatever other people tell them. I felt that if I came out and told my story then I could help others. In 1996, I helped organise the first Tongzhi Conference in Hong Kong. It was a gathering of Chinese gays and lesbians from Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Italy, the United States, Canada and the mainland. We are Chinese from different parts of the world, but we experience the same problems. In 1999, I started Over the Rainbow with a few friends of mine. Since then, we've been providing a hotline service to families of people who are gay and lesbian. I thought that a lot of parents would call, but instead, most of the calls have come from the spouse of the person who is gay. The gay movement in Hong Kong has moved quickly in the past two decades. In the mid-1980s, there weren't many organisations to help those coming out. Then in the early 1990s, we started seeing coverage of gays cruising in public toilets on television. Thereafter, some people talked about their experiences openly to the media. And now, I feel that if friends tell you they are gay or lesbian, it's no big deal. July 1 was a memorable date for us. It was the first march in Hong Kong where an organised group of gays and lesbians participated. We had a large rainbow flag and signs that read 'Gays against 23'. It was a good opportunity for us to show to the public that we are here.' The Over the Rainbow hotline operates from 8pm to 10pm every Friday at 29402728.