7 Sep 2012

Mothers of LGBTs protest sexuality education textbook in Hangzhou

Following complaints from 18 mothers of gay children and gay groups over a sexuality education booklet targeted at parents of teenagers that describes homosexuality as a type of "sexual deviance", the publisher has agreed to revise the sections about homosexuality in its second edition.

Families of gay men and women in China have protested a sex education booklet given to parents of teenagers that describes homosexuality as a type of "sexual deviance", the China Daily reported today.

The affected pages (in Chinese) can be read on Aibai.com.

About 50,000 copies of Parents, Please Walk Your Children Through Puberty is believed to have been distributed in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province, since last year.

Jointly published by the Hangzhou Institute for Educational Research and Northeast Normal University Press, the booked has been designed to aid parents whose children are going through adolescence.

But parents of gay children have complained about the booklet describing homosexuality as a type of "sexual deviance" and calling on parents to "prevent" it. One passage in the book reads: "Because homosexuals are not accepted by prevailing social customs and moral standards, they tend to be anti-social and eccentric."

On Aug 27, 18 mothers of gay children wrote an open letter to the Hangzhou education bureau, which is responsible for the institute, calling for the booklet to be immediately recalled, its distribution stopped, and the parts about homosexuality to be revised in its second edition.

"They (parents of gay children) are in a better position to protest the book than LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) right groups, as it was made for them," Hu Zhijun, a staff member at the China branch of the gay rights group, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, told the Daily.

The Shanghaiist reported that the chief editor of the textbook, Hang Siping, has taken responsibility for the misjudgment and offered to make edit the second edition of the textbook, due to be published in October. Hang was quoted as saying: "In the course of writing and publishing this book, we have not consulted a lot of materials on homosexuality. It was inevitable to have words that some have considered discriminatory. This is also my fault as chief editor."

Hang added: "In my editorial comments, I suggested that we should remove all of the offending passages. If the section on homosexuality proves to be that controversial -- and we would not dare to make our own judgements on it -- then we'd rather completely leave the subject out."

The affected pages (in Chinese) can be read on Aibai.com.