A South African Christian arts academy in Bloemfontein may be breaking the law by advertising that it can ‘cure’ gay students, and if ‘treatment’ is refused, they can be expelled
The South African Sunday Times reported that the Creare Training Centre’s prospectus claimed it could ‘convert’ gay students into ‘straight’ through ‘rehabilitation’.
Gay rights activists had slammed this as ‘tragic, shameful and deeply hurtful’, according to the report.
Creare founder Cornelius can Heyningen denied that the institution was discriminatory, stating yesterday (13 January) to the Sunday Times: ‘We are catering for those who say “I want to change as a homosexualâ€. That’s not saying no homosexuals are allowed’.
Heyningen further compared the academy’s stance on gays and lesbians to a drug rehabilitation programme.
According to Creare Training Centre’s 2013 prospectus, if a gay or lesbian student refuses to be ‘discipled to’ (implying attempt at ‘curing’ their sexuality) then that they will not be permitted to continue their studies.
It stated: ‘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’.
Gay rights organisation OUT director Dawie Nel told the Sunday Times: ‘Their comments fuel violent discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people, such as the rape of gays and lesbians to “cureâ€ them; or even murders being committed’.
Speaking with Gay Star News, Melanie Nathan, a South African LGBT rights advocate and lawyer based in the USA said: ‘Not only is this blatant discrimination under the South African Law, “Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act of 2006â€, but worse is Heyningen’s assertion that gays can be “curedâ€.
‘It is a myth and quackery to assert such claims, whether done in the name of the Bible, God or therapy.
‘The American Psychiatric Association refers to the great dangers of these types of assertions: “The potential risks of ‘reparative therapy’ are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patientâ€’.