Rallying cry issued after 10,000 letters oppose change The gay community is urging supporters of equal rights to vote with their feet for an anti-discrimination law at the city's first gay and lesbian protest march on Monday. The rallying cry went up as the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) revealed that the deluge of submissions from Christians opposing a law protecting homosexuals from discrimination had reached more than 10,000. The EOC has received only one submission in favour of such legislation. To mark the first International Day Against Homophobia, 12 non-governmental organisations are planning the march to raise awareness about homophobia and to promote diversity. 'Hong Kong is one of the few places in Asia to have an event to mark this day,' said Roddy Shaw Kwok-wah of Civil Rights for Sexual Diversities, one of the organisers. Other places marking the day with public events include France, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Britain. 'We have been planning this for a while, but yes, it is also a response to the recent campaign by the Christian group, the Hong Kong Alliance for Family Values. We want to tell the public that we are asking for equality and not special privileges,' said Mr Shaw. He hoped that more than 200 people would take part in the march but appealed to anybody 'who is supportive of the equality principle to join'. Organisers will hand out masks and rainbow flags to participants, who have been asked to wear the masks throughout the march and take them off at the end. 'The message to the public through the masks is that homophobia has forced us into the closet and, for supporters of equal rights, it is important that they experience the day-to-day stigmatisation we face by hiding behind a mask.' Protesters will gather at 2pm at the pedestrian area outside Sogo in Causeway Bay and move on to Victoria Park at about 3pm. Meanwhile, Equal Opportunities Commissioner Raymond Tang Yee-bong said the letters opposing a gay anti-discrimination law came mainly from Christian groups, or espoused strong religious views. 'It is a very important and certainly controversial issue, involving people's notions of morality and family values,' he said. 'Society will eventually have to embrace diversity and understand that you cannot make the issue go away just by rejecting it.'