A Research Report on the Lives of Lesbian and Bisexual Women and Transgender Men in Timor-Leste

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This is relevant to humanitarian practitioners because it reveals the pre-emergency status of queer women, an often ignored cohort of women, in Timor-Leste, and focuses on the specific protection, safety and security needs of queer women in emergency shelters.

Despite high-level commitments, people assigned female at birth  continue to suffer in the absence of strong support systems. Respondents reported discrimination in education, social and economic sectors of society. One respondent shared her story of corrective rape which resulted in a child. Roughly one-third of respondents have children but none live with male partners. This points to the deep-rooted cultural norms that perpetuate the myth and brutal practice of corrective rape. More than half of the respondents identified as lesbian and 39% identified as bisexual. Most respondents had, at some point, had a sexual relationship with a man but now have women partners.

Nearly all of the respondents said they wanted more information about diverse SOGIE-friendly safe spaces. Currently, there are very few safe spaces for diverse women to meet their partners or connect with one another: the most common way of coming into contact with other queer women was through a mutual friend.

The report includes recommendations for supporting queer women that include conducting research, strengthening responses to all forms of violence, and societal awareness raising.

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"Am I wrong to be what I love to be? I just hope someday, my life will change. I want live a life just like everyone else: happy and respected.”

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Despite high-level commitments, people assigned female at birth  continue to suffer in the absence of strong support systems. Respondents reported discrimination in education, social and economic sectors of society. One respondent shared her story of corrective rape which resulted in a child. Roughly one-third of respondents have children but none live with male partners. This points to the deep-rooted cultural norms that perpetuate the myth and brutal practice of corrective rape. More than half of the respondents identified as lesbian and 39% identified as bisexual. Most respondents had, at some point, had a sexual relationship with a man but now have women partners.

Nearly all of the respondents said they wanted more information about diverse SOGIE-friendly safe spaces. Currently, there are very few safe spaces for diverse women to meet their partners or connect with one another: the most common way of coming into contact with other queer women was through a mutual friend.

The report includes recommendations for supporting queer women that include conducting research, strengthening responses to all forms of violence, and societal awareness raising.