The Madrid transport authorities are currently investigating who is behind the leaflet after it was immediately brought to their attention by metro employees.
According to Spanish radio station Cadena SER, the memo stated that ticket inspectors should pay special attention to checking that “homosexuals, musicians, beggars and sellers” have valid metro tickets on them.
“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,” Madrid Metro director general Ignacio Gonzalez Velayos told Cadena SER.
Teófilo Piñuelas, a representative of the workers through major Spanish trade union UGT, labelled the incident as “extremely serious” and argued that the employees “staunchly refused to abide by the contents of the memo because they believe all passengers should be treated equally”.
Boti G. Rodrigo, the president of the Federación Estatal de Lesbianas, Gais, Transexuales y Bisexuales (FELGTB) told the Local of her shock and indignation over the matter.
“We are absolutely shocked and absolutely indignant as an organization to learn about this. I just can´t believe that in this day and age such an attitude could be circulated by the Madrid metro,” Rodrigo told the Local from her Madrid office.
“To discriminate arbitrarily against any group of people, be it musicans, beggars or indeed gays, is completely illegal and in fact criminal and the person who wrote this should lose their job and face charges.
“It´s extraordinary to think they can get away with this,” she added.
Meanwhile the LGBT organization of Madrid insisted that not all gays used the metro for “cruising”.
“Possibly the warning was issued because this (metro) line is sometimes used by gay and bisexual men looking for chance encounters – which is known in the LGBT jargon as cruising,” said the group in a statement.
“But vigilance against this sort of exhibitionism or sexual assault should be carried out regardless of the sexual orientation of those involved. Not all homosexuals are looking for casual sex nor can all homosexuals be physically identified.
“This constitutes, without doubt a clear case of discrimination and harassment of individuals based solely on their sexual orientation."
— Cadena SER (@La_SER) February 18, 2015