Homosexuality can be classified as a “psychological disorder,” a Chinese court has ruled, upholding a decision in favor of a textbook publisher. It found only a ‘difference of opinion’ – not fact – between plaintiff and publisher.
The inclusion of homosexuality as a psychological disorder in a popular university textbook constitutes “not factual error but a divergent academic view,” the Suqian Intermediate People’s Court ruled last week. Located in the eastern province of Jiangsu, the court upheld a previous ruling handed down by the Suyu District People’s Court last year.
The plaintiff, Ou “Xixi” Jiayong, was disappointed with the decision, suggesting the court’s idea of what constituted a factual error as opposed to a difference in opinion was “random and baseless.” While she acknowledged she had maxed out all legal avenues, she hinted to SCMP that “there was still much more work to be done” and revealed she planned to work with others in the community to push the case further. “They didn’t even have a trial, they just handed down the judgment,” she complained.
The Chinese LGBT community also expressed disappointment with the ruling, accusing the courts and the textbook’s publisher of being out of touch with modern culture. Ah Qiang, spokesman for the Guangzhou chapter of the PFLAG support group for families and friends of LGBT youth, likened the ruling to a persistent declaration that the sun revolved around the earth. “The editor of the textbook apparently used viewpoints that do not match society’s perception of sexual minorities today,” he stated.
Xixi, who identifies as a lesbian, filed the suit back in 2017, four years after she came upon the Mental Health Education for College Students textbook during her university studies. She told the New York Times last year that she was “shocked” and “deeply stung” to come upon the inclusion of homosexuality under “common psychosexual disorders” in such a widely-used book.
Like cross-dressing and fetishism, the textbook claimed, homosexuality “was believed to be a disruption of love and sex or perversion of the sex partner.”
The former student, now a social worker, demanded that publisher Jinan University Press and retailer JD.com, who stocks the book, both remove the offending text and apologize for including it in the first place, denouncing it as “poor quality work” lacking any sort of scientific support. After losing her earlier case against the publisher and retailer last year, she appealed in November – only to receive the same answer.
Homosexuality was decriminalized in China in 1997 and removed from a list of mental disorders in 2001, though some variations – like homosexuals who are “discordant with themselves” or otherwise feel psychologically uncomfortable with their sexual identity – remain listed as a condition in the Chinese Classification of Mental Disorders, according to South China Morning Post. Even the World Health Organization only removed homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1990.
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