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Chinese court backs publisher of textbook calling homosexuality 'psychological disorder'

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HONG KONG (Reuters) - A court in China's eastern Jiangsu province recently ruled in favour of a publisher that described homosexuality as a "psychological disorder" in a university textbook.

According to a copy of the Feb. 9 appeal ruling seen by Reuters, Suyu District Intermediate Court in the city of Suqian said the description resulted from "perceptual differences" and was not a factual error, upholding a judgment made in September last year.

"I feel at a loss, because they didn't even have a trial, they just handed down the judgment," said the plaintiff, who uses the pseudonym XiXi.

In 2017, XiXi had sued Jinan University Press and a company owned by retailer JD.com for publishing and distributing factually incorrect content in the 2013 book on mental health education for university students.

"The teaching material classifies homosexuality as a psychological disorder, which it isn't," the 24-year-old NGO worker said, adding that she only found out about the ruling on her appeal through her lawyer on Feb. 22.

"I'm really disappointed, because we are seeing comments that are supporting this judgment."

Homosexuality was decategorised as a mental disorder by the Chinese Psychiatric Association in 2001.

"It's quite damaging to the whole LGBT community, so we are sorely disappointed," said Peng Yanzi, the director of LGBT Rights Advocacy China.

"I'm not the only one who is disappointed, shocked and angry - the whole LGBT community is - but we also very much admire XiXi because she's spent years legally pursuing this."

Jinan University Press and JD.com did not immediately reply to emailed requests for comment.

(Reporting by Pak Yiu in Hong Kong and Gabriel Crossley in Beijing; Editing by Karishma Singh)