China: Girl sues govt for books calling homosexuality a 'disorder'

Published Aug 20, 2015, 10:05 pm IST
Updated Mar 28, 2019, 3:32 am IST
Representational Picture (Photo: AFP)
 Representational Picture (Photo: AFP)

Beijing: A female college student has sued the Chinese government for prescribing textbooks that call homosexuality a "disorder that should be treated".

The student used the alias Qiu Bai when filing the case to prevent exposure of personal information to the Chinese public, who are largely conservative and sensitive toward homosexuality.

Qiu's frustrations began when seeking out answers on her doubts about her sexual orientation at the library.

Almost every book she consulted categorized homosexuality as a mental disorder, with some even suggesting electroshock therapy to cure the "disease", state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

On May 14, Qiu applied to the Ministry of Education (MOE) asking them to clarify what regulations are in place to supervise such content.

However, her request received no response in the required limit of 15 days. She responded with a lawsuit against the ministry.

"Homosexuals are already under great pressure. Additional stigma from textbooks will cause direct harm. The MOE should bear the duty to monitor and supervise such content," Qiu said.

Qiu's application has been received by the Beijing Municipal No 1 Intermediate People's Court and is pending further procedure.

Textbooks in Guangdong Province are not the only instance of outdated thinking on homosexuality. Roughly 40 per cent of 90 textbooks published after 2001 prescribe treating homosexuality as a disorder.

Half of the textbooks insist it’s a disease that can be cured through therapy, according to an investigation by the Gay and Lesbian Campus Association, a non-governmental organisation.

Medical and scientific organizations worldwide have concluded that homosexuality is not a mental illness but rather a sexual orientation.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) removed homosexuality from the disorder list from the Sexual Deviancy section of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1973.

The World Health Organisation listed homosexuality as a mental illness in 1977, and in 1990, a resolution was adopted to remove it.

Recent reports in Chinese official media said Gay and Lesbian culture is fast spreading in China with growing acceptance.

A survey conducted last year pointed to positive view of it among the majority of people.

Fifty-nine per cent of 2,400 city residents interviewed in a survey said that society should accept homosexuals while 21 per cent of respondents know gay people.



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