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Chinese Court Rules That Homosexuality Is A Mental Disorder

Youngsters hold rainbow flags, a symbol for the homosexuals, as they march on the street during their anti-discrimination parade in Changsha, central China’s Hunan province on May 17, 2013.AFP/Getty Images

A court in China recently ruled in favour of a publisher that described homosexuality as a “psychological disorder” in a university textbook.

The Suqian Intermediate People’s Court in the eastern province of Jiangsu, held that the textbook’s description of homosexuality as “a psychological disorder” was not a factual error but merely an “academic view”, upholding a judgment made in September last year.


“I feel at a loss, because they didn’t even have a trial, they just handed down the judgment,” said the plaintiff, who uses the pseudonym XiXi.

In 2016, during her first year of study at the South China Agricultural University in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, Xixi came across a psychology textbook that described being gay as a mental disorder. In 2017, XiXi had sued Jinan University Press and a company owned by retailer for publishing and distributing factually incorrect content.

The 2013 edition of Mental Health Education for College Students, published by Jinan University Press, listed homosexuality under “common psychosexual disorders” – along with cross-dressing and fetishism. It stated that homosexuality “was believed to be a disruption of love and sex or perversion of the sex partner”.

“The teaching material classifies homosexuality as a psychological disorder, which it isn’t,” the 24-year-old NGO worker said, adding that she only found out about the ruling on her appeal through her lawyer on Feb. 22.

“I’m really disappointed, because we are seeing comments that are supporting this judgment.”

Homosexuality was de-categorised as a mental disorder by the Chinese Psychiatric Association in 2001.

“It’s quite damaging to the whole LGBT community, so we are sorely disappointed,” said Peng Yanzi, the director of LGBT Rights Advocacy China.

“I’m not the only one who is disappointed, shocked and angry – the whole LGBT community is – but we also very much admire XiXi because she’s spent years legally pursuing this.”

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