|Lawsuit: Qiu Bai, 21, is suing the Ministry of Education over books that say homosexuals have 'mental issues'|
A university student from south China is suing the Chinese Ministry of Education over books that say homosexuals have 'mental or physical issues' and need to be 'healed.' Qiu Bai, 21, launched legal action after finding the shocking allegations in psychiatry and psychology textbooks in the library at Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou,The People's Daily Online reported.
In 2013, when she was in her first year of university, Qiu found herself confused about her sexuality. Qiu - who is thought to use a pseudonym, but has been named as Chen Qiuyan by CNN.com - turned to the textbooks for an academic take on homosexuality, and was shocked at what she discovered.
|Shocking: Qiu found the troubling ideas in books in the library at Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou (above)|
'After I started university, many of my friends asked me what kind of men I like. I get along well with men, but I feel awkward on the topic of boyfriends,' she told China Youth Daily. 'I realised I preferred women and had developed loving feelings towards them. 'It was only at that time that I came across the word 'homosexuality'. I felt scared. I didn't tell anybody.' 'The terrible opinions I came across [in the books] included [the idea] that it is morally bankrupt to not produce offspring.
'[They] also said [homosexuality] would lead the human race to perish, it's an illness and can be treated.' Qiu was so disturbed by what she read that she was prompted to consult a psychologist. She has now spent the past two years petitioning local authorities about the books, which she says are outdated even according to China's own laws on homosexuality.
|Campaigning: Qiu has spent the last two years petitioning local authorities about the outdated books|
|Change: Since homosexuality was decriminalised in 1997, young LGBT people have fought for more rights|
|Steps: China's (LGBT) community has made significant steps toward becoming socially accepted|
Homosexuality was decriminalised in China in 1997, and in 2001 it was removed from an official list of mental illnesses for clinical treatment. Since then, China's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community has made significant steps toward becoming socially accepted.
Qiu sees the court's decision to accept her case as a massive step forward in her quest to ensure homosexuality is accurately represented in textbooks. 'It doesn't matter if I win or lose or we settle outside the court,' she told CNN.
'What matters is the Ministry of Education will have to respond to the issue regarding textbooks.' 'The current existence of wrongful textbooks is the result of the ignorance towards homosexuality and the management deficiency from educational authorities,' Qiu told The People's Daily Online.
|Fighting for progress: In June, seven Chinese LGBT couples married in West Hollywood to promote gay rights|