Homosexuality still qualifies as mental disorder in China, court finds



A tribunal in Chinathe eastern province of Jiangsu ruled in favor of a publisher who described homosexuality as a “psychological disorder” in an academic textbook.

The Suyu District Intermediate Court in Suqian City said that the description of homosexuality under “common psychosexual disorders” – as well as cross-dressing and fetishism – results from “differences in perception” and was not a factual error, according to documents consulted by Reuters.

The ruling upheld a previous judgment handed down in September last year against the plaintiff Ou Jiayong, also known by the pseudonym Xixi.

Xixi, 24, first discovered the psychology textbook while studying at South China Agricultural University in 2016. She told the New York Times that she was “deeply stung” when she read the manual because she identifies as a lesbian.

Xixi sued the publisher of the manual and the online retailer that stores it in 2017, demanding that the texts remove the reference and publicly apologize.

But his legal battle was ultimately unsuccessful. Xixi told the South China Morning Post that the court’s decision as to what constituted a “factual error” was “random and unfounded”. She believed the evidence she provided in court was sufficient to prove that the description of homosexuality as a mental disorder was wrong, but said the ruling could be a way to “reduce controversy.”

” But he [the ruling] also allowed textbooks that pathologize homosexuality to continue to circulate, which is a shame, ”said Xixi.

An academic textbook also declared homosexuality a “perversion”

The South China Morning Post says the manual – a 2013 edition of Mental health education for college students published by Jinan University Press – is used by “a number of Chinese universities”.

He also states that homosexuality is “considered to be a disturbance of love and sex or a perversion of the sexual partner”.

The Suyu District People’s Court in Suqian said that the opposing views of Xixi and the publisher were due to differences of opinion rather than factual error.

Xixi appealed the ruling in November 2020, but the appeals court upheld the original ruling in favor of the publisher.

She said Reuters she only learned of the decision on her appeal through her lawyer, and she is “really disappointed because we see comments that support this judgment.”

Peng Yanzi, director of LGBT Rights Advocacy China, also said Reuters the decision is “quite prejudicial to the whole Lgbt community. ”He added,“ I’m not the only one disappointed, shocked and angry – the entire LGBT community is – but we also very much admire Xixi because she has spent years pursuing this legally. “

Homosexuality is legal in China, but anti-LGBT + sentiments remain

According to EqualDex, homosexuality was decriminalized in China in 1997 and declassified as a mental disorder in 2001. However, the country still does not recognize same sex marriage, and there is no legal protection against discrimination against LGBT + people in China.

In 2015, a a student sued the Chinese Ministry of Education on textbooks that described homosexuality as an affliction, arguing that the government was responsible for ensuring the quality of the books and should disclose its approval process. She lost her legal battle two years later.

In 2014, a Chinese court ordered a clinic to compensate a man who underwent electroconvulsive therapy designed to “cure” homosexuality, claiming the clinic had committed consumer fraud.


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