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Student sues Chinese gov't over its textbooks calling homosexuality a disorder

A college student in China has sued the ministry of education to do away with textbooks describing homosexuality as a “disorder that should be treated”.

The female 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 towards homosexuality, Xinhua reported on Thursday.

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

Almost every book she consulted categorised homosexuality as a mental disorder, with some even suggesting electroshock therapy to cure the “disease”.

On May 14, Qiu applied to the education ministry 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Textbooks in Guangdong Province are not the only instance of outdated thinking on homosexuality.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 percent of 90 textbooks published after 2001 prescribe treating homosexuality as a disorder. Half of the textbooks insist its 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 organisations 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 (WHO) listed homosexuality as a mental illness in 1977, and in 1990, a resolution was adopted to remove it.

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