LGBT rights in East Timor

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LGBT rights in East Timor East Timor
Same-sex sexual activity legal status Legal since 1975[1]
Discrimination protections No
Family rights
Recognition of

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in East Timor (Timor-Leste) may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity is legal in East Timor, but same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-sex married couples.[1]

Timor-Leste is considered a leader on human rights including LGBT rights in Southeast Asia.[2] In 2011, the country signed the "joint statement on ending acts of violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity" at the United Nations, condemning violence and discrimination against LGBT people.[3]

Law regarding same-sex sexual activity[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity has been legal since 1975.[1]

The age of consent in East Timor is 14, per Article 177 of the Penal Code.[4]

Discrimination protections[edit]

There is no legal protection based on sexual orientation or gender identity. There was a clause against discrimination based on sexual orientation included in the original draft of the Timorese Constitution but it was voted out by 52 out of 88 MPs before the Constitution took effect in 2002.[5]

However, since 2009, bias on the basis of sexual orientation is considered to be an aggravating circumstance in the case of crimes (alongside ethnicity, gender, religion, disability, etc.).[6]

Living conditions[edit]

The Roman Catholic Church has a strong influence in the country and was the main opponent to the constitutional clause to protect LGBT people from discrimination. In 2002, when the clause was discussed in Parliament, a prominent Christian politician said there weren't any gay people in Timor-Leste and called homosexuality a "disease".[7] However, in recent years, there has been a significant gay dimension in Timorese society and LGBT people have become more visible and accepted.

On June 29, 2017, the first pride parade in East Timor took place in the capital city of Dili with reportedly 500 people in attendance.[8]

In June 2017, Prime Minister Rui Maria de Araújo said that "discrimination, disrespect and abuse towards people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity does not provide any benefit to our nation."[2][9]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (Since 1975)
Equal age of consent Yes (Since 1975)
Anti-discrimination laws in employment only No
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services No
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (Incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) No
Hate crime laws include sexual orientation Yes (Since 2009)
Same-sex marriages No
Recognition of same-sex couples No
Stepchild adoption by same-sex couples No
Joint adoption by same-sex couples No
LGBT people allowed to serve openly in the military Emblem-question.svg
Right to change legal gender No
Access to IVF for lesbians No
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples No
MSMs allowed to donate blood No

See also[edit]


HIV-AIDS and Homophobia in Timor-Leste Timor Leste Red Cross excludes homosexuals from HIV-AIDS Reduction Program