A Beijing court accepted an interesting lawsuit on Friday against China’s Ministry of Education, which was filed over textbooks which classify homosexuality as a “psychological disorder”.
This is despite the fact homosexuality was removed from the official list of mental illnesses back in 2001.
The person behind the suit is 20-year-old Qiu Bai, who is a student at university in Guangdong province, and she started it after she found that many of the psychology and medical textbooks in her school library still defined homosexuality as a disorder.
Just for example, one of the textbooks was released in 2013 yet it listed homosexuality as a psychological disorder, right alongside pedophilia, zoophilia and necrophilia. It didn’t end there though, as the book also suggested some ways that the “illness” could be cured, such as aversion therapy – which can include electric shock therapy.
Qiu said that the books not only openly stigmatised gay people, but also went on to say that it had “no doubt” directly harmed the LGBTQ+ community.
“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.”
It has probably only escalated to a lawsuit due to the fact that the local education bureau and the country’s media watchdog failed to respond to Qui’s complaints.
Worryingly, even though it was removed from the list of mental illnesses in 2001, a recent survey of psychology textbooks which was done by the Gay and Lesbian Campus Association in China, found that 40% of books written after 2001 still classified homosexuality as a mental disorder.