China: Hospital Drops Appeal in Gay Man’s Involuntary Treatment Case

A psychiatric hospital in central China’s Henan province that held a gay man against his will to “cure” his sexuality has dropped its legal appeal against an earlier court verdict in favor of the patient.

Yu Hu — a pseudonym — was forced to take sedatives and antidepressants after he was involuntarily admitted to Zhumadian Second People’s Hospital, also known as Zhumadian Psychiatric Hospital, by relatives in October 2015. LGBT advocates secured his release after 19 days of internment.

On May 17, 2016, Yu and his lawyer, Huang Rui, filed a lawsuit at the Yicheng District court in Zhumadian. More than a year later, the court’s verdict on June 26 stated that the plaintiff did not meet the requirements for involuntary treatment, as he was not at risk of harming himself or others. The court also ordered the hospital to publish an apology to the plaintiff in the local press and compensate him with 5,000 yuan ($740) for the ordeal, in addition to bearing the court expenses.

Homophobia in medicine and psychiatry is a persistent issue facing LGBT groups in China. Though homosexuality was removed from China’s classification of mental illnesses in 2001, more than 15 years later, some university textbooks still describe homosexuality as a “disorder.” 

LGBT groups welcomed the Zhumadian verdict, but the positive outcome for Yu may not prevent similar cases in future. Read more via Sixth Tone