China: Homosexual man wins legal victory over forced ‘gay conversion therapy’

The incident began in October 2015, when Yu, a 38-year-old homosexual, was sent to a mental hospital – against his will – in Henan by his wife and family members. Yu was later diagnosed with ‘sexual preference disorder’ and was forced to undergo a series of treatments involving taking medications and injections that he did not consent for. Despite his best efforts, Yu was kept in the hospital for 19 days – and was finally released with the aid of the NGO LGBT Rights Advocacy China.

Nevertheless, Yu’s life was never the same again following his hospitalisation. He left his family home as he was living under the threat that his family might send him back to the hospital again. Eventually, Yu decided to bring up his case in court, suing the mental health hospital for forcing him to undergo ‘gay conversion therapy’ under the guise of treatment for his ‘anxiety disorder’.

On 26 June 2017, the court announced Yu’s long-awaited legal victory against the hospital over forced treatment for his sexual preference. As a result of the court proceeding, the hospital was ordered to issue a public apology and pay Yu USD735 in damages – a step down from the original USD1,470 that Yu had demanded. While the court order and fine may seem like a small figure, the legal victory is a first for the LGBT community in China that has steadily begun to make greater public presence.

“For the LGBT community, they can have more confidence in [the courts’] ability to uphold their rights… for health institutions, after an experience losing a lawsuit, they will curb their actions of forcibly treating homosexuals,” commented Yu’s lawyer, Huang Rui, who was very satisfied with the court verdict.

Despite all of this, the mental health hospital refused to admit to administering gay conversion therapy and only admitted to having committed treatment without consent. 

Till today, the situation of LGBT right in China remains to be a difficult and complicated one. Officially, China’s psychiatric association has dropped homosexuality from its official list of disorders since the year 2001. Yet, in the following 16 years, hospitals and clinics all over the country still offer conversion therapies for homosexual individuals. The reasons these treatments exist may, on some level, be culturally linked – nonetheless, one thing for certain is there are currently no laws put into place which deem these conversion therapies as illegal nor, is there any laws to regulate them.  Read more via MIMS