The metro company in Spain’s capital, Madrid, has announced it will be giving away free travel passes to the transgendered to help tackle “social exclusion” and aid “integration”.
The initiative, according to which 38 free annual passes will be handed out, “confirms the support of the company to the struggle for equal civil right”, Metro de Madrid declared in a statement on their website.
The public relations stunt, tapping in to the latest social justice trends, has certainly curried them a lot of favour on Twitter.
“What a beautiful initiative! Everything that improves human relations is welcome”, tweeted one user. “The Metro is very inclusive, everyone should ride”, added another. Others, however, pointed out that it was a form of discrimination in and of itself.
The transport company teamed up with the Spanish Association of Transsexuals to formulate the idea, saying “people experiencing social exclusion are served by this partnership”, and claiming it would “promote the full social integration of women and transgender men in the Community of Madrid.”
As well as the free bus and train rides, the stunt will act as a “vehicle to raise awareness against discrimination and promoting respect for diversity” the Metro said.
The organisation doesn’t specify, however, how recipients of the free annual passes will be chosen; if, say, they will need to be legally recognised as their chosen gender, living as their chosen gender, or merely self identifying as that gender.
This could lead to some confusion, as anyone can claim to be transgendered in this day and age, and gaining legal recognition has been quite simple in Spain for a decade now.
In November 2006 the Spanish government passed a law that allows transgender persons to register under their preferred sex in public documents without undergoing surgical or sterilisation.
Ten years ago, this would have indeed made Spain one of the most progressive nations in regard to transgenderism.
However, the UK’s Transgender Equalities Enquiry recently recommended that Britain go one better.
They suggested a system of self declaration, whereby the transgendered will not even need to live or appear as their chosen gender to be legal recognised as such. They will need to go through no tests or assessments, but merely fill out a single form.