In a landmark decision, a Beijing court has described homosexuality as abnormal and unacceptable to the public. It is the first time a mainland court has ruled on the nature of homosexuality. While most mainlanders regard homosexuality as distasteful or even immoral, there has been no legal description of the act. Xuanwu District Court delivered a verdict on September 30 in a case in which Xu Yanguang sued author Fang Gang and a Jilin publishing firm for 60,000 yuan (HK$55,000) for psychological damage and losses after he was alluded to in a book. Fang's Homosexuals in China, published in April 1995, describes a 1993 St Valentine's Day party in Beijing attended by about 50 homosexuals and gay sympathisers, and five Chinese and foreign reporters. The book, which sold 70,000 copies, did not name Mr Xu but described him as the manager of a dance hall in which the party was held, saying he was a homosexual and a volunteer for a gay telephone hotline. The court judgment said: 'Homosexuality in China today is considered as abnormal sexual behaviour and is not acceptable to the public. 'Therefore, by describing the plaintiff as a homosexual without any proof, Fang Gang brought depression and psychological pain to him [Mr Xu] and affected his life and work, infringing his reputation.' The judge, Zhang Lihua, a woman in her 30s, found in favour of Mr Xu, awarding him 9,000 yuan damages, 7,000 to be paid by Fang and 2,000 by the Jilin People's Publishing House. She ordered the two defendants to pay 1,800 yuan of the 2,390 yuan in legal costs. Fang was also ordered to publish a written apology approved by her in the Legal Daily, the newspaper of the Justice Ministry. Mr Xu said as a result of the book's publication, he had become subject to suspicion and criticism by his friends and family. His fiancee of one year refused to marry him and no one wanted to have any dealings with him. He said he had been unable to find a job or live a normal life. Fang said he was considering an appeal, which he must lodge by Friday. 'My lawyer wants to appeal,' said Fang, 31. 'I feel the judgment is unfair. It is for doctors, not judges, to say if homosexuality is abnormal. 'The court says that it is considered abnormal, but by whom - all 1.2 billion Chinese? The most authoritative definition is by the World Health Organisation which has removed it from its list of illnesses.'