UPDATE | Suspect in trans beating claims gay panic defense

Two transgender women were attacked, and one was stripped nude, during a verbal confrontation that turned into a violent brawl and beating on a MARTA train.

Janell Crosby and Tyra Woods were confronted by a group of men as they walked to the Five Points MARTA Station in downtown Atlanta early on May 20. The men followed the two women into the station and snapped photos of them while harassing them with transphobic and homophobic comments. The confrontation escalated on a MARTA train as Crosby repeatedly told the men to stop. Then one of the harassers physically attacked Crosby while another man charged Woods.

From WSB:

“[They] just kept of asking us was we real,” said Janell Crosby. “Like really trying to get us. ‘Are you real?’ 'Are y’all this or that?’ Just trying to embarrass us.”

"They were trying to find out if we are men or women,” said Tyra Woods. “I shouldn’t have to disclose who I am to an innocent person who I’m not even interested in talking to.”

The attack is prompting both women to leave Atlanta, with Crosby returning to New York to live with family and Woods staying with relatives in Ohio, according to the GA Voice.

“Nobody tried to help. They were all standing up on chairs and videotaping. That’s how it ended up on so many [web]sites,” Janell Crosby told GA Voice on Monday, one of the women attacked, as she waited to get on a Greyhound bus to New York. Crosby said the attack from one week ago led her to decide to move back to New York where she has family.

Her friend, Tyra Woods, who was stripped naked in the attack, is now in Cleveland, Ohio, staying for family for a few weeks, Crosby said.

“I don’t feel safe here. We don’t get no protection. There are always troublemakers,” Crosby said about moving back to New York.

Crosby told 11Alive that she considered the attack a hate crime.

"He put his hands on me first and used so many slurs," Crosby said.

Someone in a crowd of onlookers recorded the attack and the disturbing video was posted to Fly Vidz. Watch the NSFW video above. Crosby and Woods said no one tried to help them and that a MARTA police officer rebuffed their attempt to file a report.

From the GA Voice:

Crosby said she tried to make a report to a MARTA officer after the attack, buy claims the officer had no interest in taking a report. MARTA has a fairly new slogan of “Ride with Respect” it rolled out to encourage people to report such incidents as well as a “See Something, Say Something” app to encourage people to call MARTA police when they see unlawful activities.

“I told one cop who was following us to the gate. He acted like he didn’t want to hear from us. He didn’t write any statement or anything,” she said.

MARTA officials said they were unaware of the incident until a WSB reporter asked them about it on Friday. A MARTA spokesperson could not be reached for comment on Tuesday morning by Project Q Atlanta. But the agency's chief spokesperson, Lyle Harris, released a statement to media outlets on Friday.

“We will not tolerate this kind of behavior on MARTA,” said MARTA spokesperson Lyle Harris. “We are now taking this under investigation. The MARTA Police Department is looking at what happened on that tape to see if we can determine who was involved and what happened and we will take every action.”

MARTA wasn’t made aware of the incident until Young called them Friday afternoon. They said none of the riders called 911 or alerted staff.

“We depend on our customers to help us make sure the system is as safe as possible,” said Harris. “We do a great job, we have a very safe transit system; unfortunately, we will have events that happen and we depend on customers to give us information when it does.

The fight lasted about two minutes. It ends with the man who attacked Crosby yelling for her to "pick your fucking weave up.'

[11Alive | GA Voice | WSB | Fly Vidz]