According to Times Live, the center prospectus claimed that it could allegedly change gay students into heterosexuals. Cornelius can Heyningen, founder of Creare Training Centre, insisted that the school is merely catering to the wishes of its students. "We are catering for those who say 'I want to change as a homosexual'. That's not saying no homosexuals are allowed," he said, according to Times Live.
Supporters of LGBTQ rights are outraged. Dawie Nel, director of OUT, called Creare Training Centre's stance unconstitutional and warmed that such homophobia fuels an atmosphere of discrimination, corrective rape, and other hate crimes.
"Their comments fuel violent discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people, such as the rape of gays and lesbians to 'cure' them; or even murders being committed."In a January 13th post at O-blog-dee-o-blog-da, Melanie Nathan accused the school of unlawful discrimination.
"Not only is this blatant discrimination under the South African Law but worse is Heyningen’s assertion that Gays can be cured. It is a myth and quackery to assert such claims, whether done in the name of a Bible, God or therapy."Meanwhile, Creare Training Center has gone into damage control mode. In a "Statement Regarding Media Attention Surrounding Gay Issues", the organization claims that "all people are precious to God" and "no-one has the right to judge another person or to harm another person in any way." However, the statement also defends the "human right" to change one's sexual orientation. (See www[dot]crearedream.com/statement.html)
"Just as the human rights of people allow them to position themselves as homosexual (either through religion or the belief that they were born that way), SO, ALSO, can people exercise their human rights to choose if they want to change their sexual orientation or not ... We, therefore, believe that we must be able to facilitate the human rights of the person who wants to change their sexual orientation, because such a person's rights are often undervalued and overlooked.Despite its outward rejection of homophobic discrimination, Creare's 2013 student prospectus states that students who pursue the gay "lifestyle" will be forbidden from studying at the center. (See www[dot]crearedream[dot]com/pdf/2013%20Prospectus%20(1)[dot]pdf)
The facilitation of such a person's human rights must take place in an environment that supports such a process of change.
The freedom of religion protected by the constitution of this country thus gives us the right to exercise a specific Christian world perspective regarding this point of view, taking into account the respect God gives to every person."
"According to the Statement of Faith in the Constitution of Creare training Centre, we believe in the principle of relationship fundamental to personal sexual orientation being founded on that of heterosexuality. Therefore any person wanting to pursue a lifestyle contrary and is not willing to be discipled in this regard, will not be permitted to continue further studies or lecture. We offer ministry to help people that want to change their sexual orientation A.E Homosexuality & Lesbianism to heterosexuality."Perhaps Creare should do some research on so-called conversion therapy. A 2010 statement by the American Psychological Association expresses concern over "ongoing efforts to mischaracterize homosexuality and promote the notion that sexual orientation can be changed and about the resurgence of sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE)." The statement reminded mental health professionals that insufficient evidence exists to demonstrate the efficacy of SOCEs. The APA affirmed its position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder, adding that "same-sex sexual and romantic attractions, feelings, and behaviors are normal and positive variations of human sexuality regardless of sexual orientation identity." Moreover, a 2008 APA publication endorsed entitled Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation and Youth frowns on efforts to change sexual orientation through therapy, warning that such efforts have "serious potential to harm young people". In short, attempts to change people from gay to straight are not only ineffective, but unhealthy. If Creare had the best interests of its students in mind, it would reject so-called conversion therapy outright.
Creare's promotion of dubious, homophobic "therapy" is worrisome, as is the nagging deja vu of their language. Branding homosexuality a "lifestyle", framing conversion therapy as "help", defending conversion therapy as a supposed "human right", and refusing to accept sexual orientation as innate should all sound familiar to observers of the American Religious Right. "Ex-gay" rhetoric, like "ex-gay" therapy, travels around the world quickly.
1/18/13 UPDATE: South Africa's Justice Ministry is urging the Human Rights Commission to investigate claims of discrimination at Crearer Training Center, according to IOL News.
(Hat tip to Gay Star News)