A transgender woman was riding a train in France earlier this year when she was approached by an attendant. She presented her electronic ticket and ID card, but what happened next spurred some to accuse France's national rail service of transphobia.
In a post on Twitter, Marie Furic, president of anti-discrimination organization AcronymeS, shared the story of her transgender friend who was fined in France because the name on her train ticket and physical appearance were not consistent with the information on her ID card.
"Did you know this? If you are Trans, you can have a fine in the TGV, just for that reason," Furic posted on Twitter on Nov. 20 -- the date of the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance -- along with a photo of the ticket her friend received.
The fine actually dates back to May 31, 2013, when Furic's friend was riding France's high-speed train, the Train à Grande Vitesse (TGV), between Lyon and Paris.
"This person appears with a ticket and a valid [national identity card] but the latter appears physically dressed as a lady. This lady is named Mr. [redacted]," the ticket reads.
Believing the passenger was committing fraud, the train attendant fined her 135 euros (about $180) in addition to the cost of the train ticket, bringing the total to 227 euros (around $307).
Le saviez tu ? si tu es Trans, tu peux avoir une amende dans le TGV, rien que pour cette raison pic.twitter.com/Ac7blZGdbl
— Marie FURIC (@FuricMarie) November 20, 2013
Though the transgender woman initially paid the fine to avoid a confrontation, she filed a complaint and obtained a refund -- and a private apology from an agent of the company -- three weeks later, Furic told Le Huffington Post.
"She had been openly humiliated in public in the TGV but, not wanting to make waves, she paid the fine on the spot," Furic explained.
Though Furic is taking to Twitter to share the story, her friend still wishes to remain anonymous. (As Le HuffPost notes, the transgender woman has since had her legal name changed.)
Social media users have accused the SNCF -- the state-owned rail company that operates the TGV -- of discrimination against transgender people.
For its part, SNCF addressed the concerns on Twitter, explaining the rail network reviewed the circumstances of the ticket in June and ultimately decided to issue a reimbursement for her trip given the "good faith" of the traveler.
"The company is extremely vigilante toward every form of discrimination against its customers as well as its agents," SNCF concluded in the statement.
Discrimination against people based on their sexual identity is currently illegal in France. Last year, the French senate voted to add sexual harassment and discrimination against transgender people to the country's penal code.