Gay rights activist sues MOE over textbooks’ content

By Cao Siqi Source:Global Times Published: 2015-8-18 0:53:01

A local court in Beijing has accepted a gay rights activist's lawsuit against China's Ministry of Education (MOE) for Chinese textbook descriptions of homosexuality as a "psychological disorder."

Qiu Bai (pseudonym), a 20-year-old lesbian and a third-year student at a university in Guangdong Province, told the Global Times Monday that the No.1 Intermediate People's Court in Beijing accepted her case on Friday.

She said that she sued the ministry in an attempt to find out who should take responsibility for the textbooks that deliver wrong messages, as she found many physiological and medical textbooks in her school's library which have defined homosexuality as sexual deviation.

For example, in the textbook, Consulting Psychology, which was included in Guangdong's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15) for college textbooks and published in 2013, homosexuality is defined as a psychological disorder, together with pedophilia, zoophilia and necrophilia. The book also lists subsequent psychological problems caused by homosexuality, analyzes causes of the illness and provides four methods to cure the "illness."

The book recommended "aversion therapy," which includes several measures such as electric shock, to rid the person of his homosexual attachment.

The third version of the Chinese Classification of Mental Disorders in 2001 removed homosexuality and bisexuality from the list of disorders, following the lead of the 1980 version of the US Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

"When I was experiencing an identity crisis, I tried to seek help by consulting these textbooks. But the wrong information has hurt me as well as other students like me," Qiu said.

Qiu said that she had complained to the local education bureau and the top media watchdog, but failed to get a response. In May, she demanded that the MOE publicize its measures to supervise textbooks for Chinese universities, but failed to get a reply within 15 working days.

"It is inspiring. It could help erase discrimination against homosexuality in textbooks," Peng Yanhui, a gay right activist from LGBT Rights Advocacy China, a Guangzhou-based NGO, told the Global Times.

A 2014 survey conducted by the Gay and Lesbian Campus Association in China, another Guangzhou-based NGO, found that about 13 of the 42 textbooks surveyed that discussed homosexuality define homosexuality as an illness or abnormality, Peng said.

Posted in: Society

blog comments powered by Disqus