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Lesbian student sues Ministry of Education over alleged discrimination

By Kou Jie (People's Daily Online)    16:13, September 12, 2016

[File Photo]

A local court in Beijing will hear the case of a lesbian student against the Ministry of Education (MOE) on Sept. 12. The plaintiff is suing over MOE-approved textbooks that describe homosexuality as a “psychological disorder.”

Qiu Bai (pseudonym), a student at Sun Yat-sen University in southern China’s Guangdong province, filed a case with the Beijing First Intermediate People’s Court against the MOE in May, after the MOE failed to reply to her complaint about the homophobic content of the textbooks. The case was accepted in June and will be heard on Sept. 12.

“The MOE has failed to reply to my request for an administrative review of the textbooks’ content. If I can win before the jury, the MOE may [be forced to] have the misleading textbooks revised,” Qiu said in an interview with People’s Daily Online on Sept. 12.

This is the third time Qiu has sued the MOE over the content of State-approved textbooks. She dropped her first case after meeting with representatives from the MOE, believing that she could get her demands heard directly by the ministry. She filed a second case after the MOE once again failed to reply. However, the second case was rejected by a local court. The MOE could not be reached for comment as of press time.

“By suing the MOE, I want to raise public awareness of the plight of LGBT communities in China. Textbooks are a primary and reliable resource for LGBT people to understand their identities; such misleading information in textbooks needs to be revised,” Qiu said.

Qiu’s appeal soon went viral on Chinese social media, garnering more than 378,000 page views on Weibo as of press time.

China removed homosexuality from the country’s list of psychological diseases in 2001, but misconceptions about and prejudice toward gay people are still prevalent. Some LGBT individuals have even been sent by their families to undergo conversion therapy, which purports to "correct" one's sexual orientation.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor: Bianji,Wu Chengliang)

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