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Chinese court rules that a university book describing homosexuality as a mental disorder is correct

The book named 'Mental Health Education for College Students' published by Jinan University Press categorised homosexuality under 'common psychological disorders' along with cross-dressing and fetishism

A court in China’s Jiangsu province recently ruled in favour of a textbook description of homosexuality as a ‘psychological disorder’. According to reports, Suyu District Intermediate Court in Suqian said that the description was not a factual error and resulted from ‘perceptual differences’. The court thus upheld a judgment passed by a lower court in September last year.

The suit was filed by a Hong Kong bases social worker

According to reports, a 24-year old Hong Kong based social worker Ou Jiaying had filed a suit against Jinan University Press and a company owned by retailer JD.com in 2017 alleging that they had published and distributed factually incorrect content in a 2013 book on mental health education for university students.

In September last year, the Suyu District People’s Court had ruled in favour of the publishing house saying that the opposing views of the plaintiff and the publisher were due to differences in opinions and not because of a factual error. Jiayong had appealed against the order in November last year but the court upheld the previous ruling.

Jiayong, who uses the pseudonym XiXi, expressed disappointment over the ruling. “The teaching material classifies homosexuality as a psychological disorder, which it isn’t”, she was quoted as saying. “I am really disappointed, because we are seeing comments that are supporting this judgment”, she added.

Homosexuality was reportedly decategorised as a mental disorder by the Chinese Psychiatric Association in 2001. Director of LGBTQ Rights Advocacy China, Peng Yanzi termed the ruling as damaging to the LGBTQ community. “It’s quite damaging to the whole LGBTQ community, so we are solely disappointed”, said Yanzi. He appreciated XiXi for legally pursuing the case for years.

The book categorised homosexuality under ‘common psychological disorders’

Jiayong came across the psychology book in 2016 during the first year of her study at South China Agricultural University in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. The 2013 edition of the book named ‘Mental Health Education for College Students’ published by Jinan University Press categorised homosexuality under ‘common psychological disorders’ along with cross-dressing and fetishism. The book reportedly stated that ‘homosexuality was believed to be a disruption of love and sex or perversion of the sex partner’. The book was used by several Chinese universities. Thus, Jiayong was concerned that the book was perpetuating the belief that being gay as wrong.

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