Yang Teng, a gay man living in Bejing, says he was left “traumatized” after receiving a series of electroshock treatments when he told his doctor that he had been having sexual thoughts about other men, the Malay Mail Online reports.
The Xinyu Piaoxiang clinic, where the procedures took place, has now been ordered by a court to pay Yang 3,500 yuan (approximately U.S. $560) and issue a public apology on its website.
The court also ruled that homosexuality does not require medical treatment. It is the first time the country has issued a verdict of this kind.
“I’m going to take this verdict and show it to my parents so they can see a Chinese court said homosexuality isn’t a mental illness,” Yang said.
According to Malay Mail Online, China stopped classifying homosexuality as a “mental disorder” in 2001, but gay people there still often face pressure from family and friends to undergo “treatment” to turn straight, or to marry someone the opposite sex.
Activists are calling the verdict in Yang’s case as a huge step forward. Yang says he plans to continue working on advancing gay rights in his country so others like him won’t have to suffer similar treatment in the future.