8:48 am - Saturday November 7, 2015

Chinese man sues government over gay rights

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Beijing -A man in China is suing the government after officials refused his application to register a gay organisation and replied that homosexuality is “against the construction of cultural and ideological progress”.

Xiang Xiaohan (not his real name), a resident of Changsha, capital of Hunan province, filed a lawsuit against the Hunan Department of Civil Affairs (HDCA) on Wednesday, accusing authorities of defamation in their replies, reported Xinhua.

Mr Xiang visited Changsha’s civil affairs bureau many times in 2013 to consult about registering a gay organisation, but the staff refused his application and said such groups “cannot be registered at the moment”.

He later filled a form requesting reasons for the refusal and turned it in to the HDCA, which replied that organisations should act in accordance with morals, and that gay organisations, which are “against tradition and the construction of cultural and ideological progress”, should therefore not be established.

“That statement is detrimental to the reputation of the gay  community,” Mr Xiang said, adding that the statement should be retracted and that the HDCA should issue an apology.

Mr Xiang initiated a campaign for same-sex rights in 2009 with group helping to organise a number of anti-discrimination activities in Changsha.

The gay activist said that he hoped related departments can help facilitate registration for gay organisations in Changsha, because “the law does not specifically prohibit it”.

The court will decide whether to put the case on file within the next seven days.

Homosexuality was removed from the Chinese Classification of Mental Disorders in 2001, after the World Health Organisation did the same May 17, 1990. However, conservative attitudes still persist in many aspects of Chinese society.

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