• An estimated 50 million to 70 million people in China identify themselves as LGBT.

An estimated 50 million to 70 million people in China identify themselves as LGBT. (Photo : REUTERS)

A college student from Guangdong Province in South China has applied to sue the Ministry of Education (MOE) at the Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People's Court, with the hopes of eliminating textbooks that describe homosexuality as a "disorder that should be treated."

The female college student is using the alias Qiu Bai in order to prevent exposure to the Chinese public, who are generally conservative regarding homosexuality.

Like Us on Facebook

According to Qiu, her frustrations began when seeking out answers regarding her own sexual orientation when almost every library book she consulted listed homosexuality as a mental disorder. Some books even suggested electroshock therapy to "cure homosexuality."

On May 14, Qiu contacted the MOE, inquiring about what regulations existed to supervise such content. After the required limit of 15 days, she did not receive any response.

Qiu responded by filing a lawsuit against the ministry.

"Homosexuals are already under great pressure. Additional stigma from textbooks will cause direct harm," Qiu said. "The MOE should bear the duty to monitor and supervise such content."

The application has been received by the Beijing Municipal No.1 Intermediate People's Court and is still awaiting further procedure.

Guangdong Province is not the only place in China wherein textbooks display outdated conceptions of homosexuality. According to an investigation by the Gay and Lesbian Campus Association, a non-governmental organization, around 40 percent of 90 textbooks published since 2001 classify homosexuality as a disorder, with half of these textbooks considering it as a disease that can be cured through therapy.

The consensus of the medical and scientific community worldwide is that homosexuality is a sexual orientation, not a mental illness.

In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) removed homosexuality from the list of disorders found in the Sexual Deviancy section of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

The World Health Organization (WHO) considered homosexuality as a mental illness in 1977, but resolved to remove the label in 1990.