18 June 2016
A case against the Chinese ministry of education, brought by a Chinese woman over textbooks that describe homosexuality as a “psychological disorder” has been accepted by a Court in Beijing.
The 21 years old woman who is gay is from Guangdong and goes by the pseudonym Qiu Bai. She has always campaigned for a change in how gays are treated in the country.
She had discovered the textbooks describing homosexuality as a ‘psychological disorder’ when she was looking for information on homosexuality while at Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou.
On making the discovery, she told the Sixth Tone website how incensed the discovery got her. She said: “Textbooks should at least describe homosexuality with objectivity.
“I don’t want discrimination permeating the school I live in and the materials I use every day.”
In 2015, she sued the Ministry of Education but was persuaded to drop the case to engage instead in a complaints process.
However, when the complaints were ignored, she sued a second time in April 2016 and this was rejected by the court on the grounds that the lack of response from the ministry did not infringe on her rights.
When she filed the current lawsuit, saying that “as a current university student, the plaintiff has a direct interest in the textbook materials”, the First Intermediate People’s Court of Beijing accepted the lawsuit over the ministry’s failure to respond to her complaint.
Homosexuality in China had been documented in China since ancient times.
According to one study, homosexuality was regarded as a normal facet of life in China, prior to the Western impact of 1840 onward. However, this has been disputed.
Adult, consensual and non-commercial homosexuality has been legal in China since 1997, when the national penal code was revised. Homosexuality was removed from the Ministry of Health’s list of mental illnesses in 2001.
Discrimination against gay men and women remains prevalent nevertheless.
According to Chinese Media Report, earlier this week, a gay man sued a mental hospital that he says drugged and beat him, after his wife and family took him there to be “cured”.
In April 2016, a judge in China rejected the first gay marriage case.