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Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) youth are vulnerable to discrimination
based on their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression (SOGIE). Negative social
attitudes toward homosexuality and gender non-conformity can lead to bullying and discrimination. LGBTI youth can feel unsafe and are at greater risk of violence. This in turn can lead to
LGBTI youth having mental health problems, skipping school or dropping out entirely, and
Timor-Leste has taken steps to protect recognize LGBTI rights, but gaps remain. The Constitution does not expressly list sexual orientation as a prohibited ground of discrimination, even
though this was proposed during the drafting process in 2001. However, article 23 of the
Constitution calls for all rights in the Constitution to be interpreted in line with the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), and this Declaration provides a non-exhaustive list of
grounds on which discrimination is prohibited. The Penal Code does not criminalize sex
between consenting adults of the same sex, and it allows for a higher penalty if a person who
commits a crime is motivated by discrimination on the grounds of “gender” or “sexual orientation”.
While the UNTAET Labour Code specifically prohibited discrimination based on sexual
this is not the case in the 2012 Labour Code currently in force.