"It’s easy to miss the invisible…"

Those words – from the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Disabilities, Shuaib Chalklen – have stuck with me today on my second and final day at the UN General Assembly.

He said them during a meeting at which I was trying to establish what more the UK could do to improve the lives of people with disabilities in the poorest parts of the world.

We are driving disability up the agenda, initially focusing on improving data and evidence with a new commitment on making schools that are directly funded by the Department for International Development inclusive.

But I am keen to learn what others are doing, share lessons and work together on this important issue. That’s why  I also had a very interesting meeting with USAID’s disability coordinator Charlotte McClain- Nhlapo and heard more about what the US Government  are doing to ensure their development work includes people with disabilities.

But those words – “it’s easy to miss the invisible” – apply to so many groups of vulnerable people around the world, including the LGBT community.

Earlier yesterday I attended a meeting of public and private donors supporting LGBT issues hosted by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, USAID and the Ford Foundation.

It was my opportunity to demonstrate my – and the UK’s – commitment to  LGBT  rights and hear what others are doing. But most importantly, I was able to meet others who feel as passionately about the issues of equality as I do and work with them to tackle exclusion and violence against LGBT people around the world.

Lynne Featherstone MP – We will tear homophobic barriers down in sport

Message of support from Lynne Featherstone at the Sheffield Eagle's special match to tackle homophobia in sportLiberal Democrat Equalities Minister, Lynne Featherstone, yesterday launched a new Government campaign to tackle homophobic bullying in sport.
Major sports organisations, such as the Football Association, the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Rugby Football League, have signed up to a Charter for Action in which they pledge to make sport a welcome place for everyone.
Commenting yesterday, Lynne Featherstone said:
“Sport is still seen by many as an institution where there are barriers we have yet to tear down, because there are so few openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people who feel comfortable on the field.
“Professional sports have the ability to change attitudes, on the field as well as in society. That is why it is important we break through this last remaining taboo and tackle it head on so that LGBT people feel welcome in all sports.
“The Liberal Democrats have long pledged to tackle prejudice everywhere and today’s launch of the Charter for Action is an important step in ensuring in sport, homophobic prejudices become a thing of the past.”

You can show your support for the campaign by signing up to the Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/lgbtsportcharter