Free Madrid metro passes for transgender people

A metro sign in Madrid Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The metro company says it wants to be a vehicle to promote respect for diversity

Madrid's metro has announced it will give away a batch of free annual travel passes to transgender people in the city.

Thirty-eight passes will be distributed as part of an effort to promote the social integration of transgender men and women across the Spanish capital, according to the metro's website. "Madrid Metro considers it a priority to raise awareness among the public so as to avoid any type of discrimination and prejudice," it says.

The scheme is a collaboration between the local government-run transport network and the non-profit Spanish Association of Transsexuals (AET), which campaigns for transsexual, transgender, gay and lesbian equality across Spain. The organisation doesn't specify how the recipients of the passes will be chosen, simply saying that they will be people "experiencing social exclusion".

Some social media users have reacted warmly to the plan, with one tweeting: "What a beautiful initiative! Everything that improves human relations is welcome!" But other comments are more negative. Some users think giving travel benefits to one group is unfair to everyone else, while others say that rather than being inclusive, the scheme singles out transgender men and women as different.

The metro's announcement comes after a string of suspected hate crimes against transgender, gay and lesbian people in Madrid this month. In one attack, a transgender woman was verbally abused and then knocked unconscious in a square in the city centre.

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