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Thursday, 16 June 2016
Chinese lesbian sues ministry over gay 'disorder' textbook
A Beijing court has accepted a woman's case against the ministry of education over textbooks that describe homosexuality as a "psychological disorder", Chinese media report.
The 21-year old from Guangdong, who is gay and goes by the pseudonym Qiu Bai, has long campaigned for a change.
Chinese views on homosexuality have softened in recent times and it was decriminalised in 1997.
However discrimination against gay men and women remains prevalent.
Earlier this week, Chinese media reported on the case of a gay man suing a mental hospital that he says drugged and beat him, after his wife and family took him there to be "cured".
In 2014, Qiu Bai, was looking for information on homosexuality while at Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou and found textbooks calling it a "disorder".
She told the Sixth Tone website this had incensed her: "Textbooks should at least describe homosexuality with objectivity.
"I don't want discrimination permeating the school I live in and the materials I use every day."
She sued the Ministry of Education in 2015 but was persuaded to drop the case to engage instead in a complaints process.
But after complaint letters were ignored she pursued a second lawsuit in April 2016 which was rejected by the court on the grounds that the lack of response from the ministry did not infringe on her rights.
Earlier this month she filed the current lawsuit, saying that "as a current university student, the plaintiff has a direct interest in the textbook materials".
On Tuesday, the First Intermediate People's Court of Beijing accepted the lawsuit over the ministry's failure to respond to her complaint.
Homosexuality was removed from the Chinese Classification of Mental Disorders in 2001.