Memo issued to Madrid metro staff warns ticket inspectors to keep an eye on 'homosexuals'

Transport authorities say they are investigating how the 'unfortunate' advice was circulated

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The Independent Online

An investigation has been launched by the Madrid metro after an internal memo ordered ticket inspectors to keep an eye out for suspect groups including “gays, musicians and beggars”.

Authorities in the Spanish city have said that the recommendation for staff to carry out extra checks on “homosexuals” did not represent official policy, and an internal probe is under way to establish who sent it out.

The leaflet sparked outrage in Madrid after it was leaked by employees to a number of media outlets on Wednesday, and was described as “extraordinary” by LGBT rights groups.

In a statement on the official Madrid metro Twitter feed, transport officials said they “condemn the memo, which is not official, and are investigating to establish [who was] responsible”.

Ignacio González Velayos, the metro’s managing director, responded to outraged members of the public by saying action would be taken once the investigation into the “unfortunate” memo was complete.

He told radio station Cadena SER, one of the first to report on the memo, that employees had brought the incident to their managers’ attention. “Our board of directors were immediately informed and have opened an investigation to determine who printed and handed out these deplorable leaflets so that they can be brought to justice,” he said.

UGT trade union boss Teodoro Piñuelas, said his organisation was one of the first to flag up the memo. He told El País: “I don’t understand why it would assume that homosexuals wouldn’t pay for their tickets and that they need to be monitored. Why not tall people, or blondes or those who wear glasses?”

The LGBT group COLEGA-Madrid said it had raised the memo with the public prosecutor and that it represented “clear discrimination and harassment due to sexual orientation”.

Boti G Rodrigo, the president of the  Federación Estatal de Lesbianas, Gais, Transexuales y Bisexuales (FELGTB), told the Spanish edition of The Local: “We are absolutely shocked and absolutely indignant as an organisation to learn about this.

“To discriminate arbitrarily against any group of people, be it musicians, beggars or indeed gays, is completely illegal and the person who wrote this should lose their job and face charges.”