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China activists demand equality for gay students

China activists demand equality for gay students

Three Chinese activist groups sent an open letter to 112 universities demanding better education and protection for LGBTI students in time for yesterday’s national Teachers’ Day celebrations.

The letter asked universities to correct disciminatory teaching materials and offer gender diversity courses, and was jointly signed by Changsha-based China Same Sex Love (CSSL), Beijing-based LGBT Rights Advocacy China and Nanjing-based anti-discrimination group Justice for All.

The letter said, ‘We appeal and encourage principals at various universities to play a positive role in gender equality education, to face up to the basic demands of sexual-minority students including gays, bisexuals and transgenders.

‘When gay students are facing bullies, please guarantee their rights and offer them psychological support. When the university’s regulations violate the rights of gay students, please be brave and make changes.

‘We always believe that as a place with relatively open culture and thinking, a university is meant to cultivate hope and the future of the country, and it should accept different voices and groups.’

Last month a survey of 90 psychology textbooks conducted by the Gay and Lesbian Campus Association in China found that only 42 had content related to homosexuality, of which 40% of those written after 2001 still classified homosexuality as a mental illness.

Xiang Xiaohan, founder of CSSL, told the South China Morning Post that he hoped the principals would listen to their demands and give feedback.

He said, ‘If they fail to contact us through e-mail or telephone calls, we would seek information disclosures from these universities, to see if there is any discrimination in university regulations.’