Police are investigating the attack of two transgender women of color, who were harassed and stripped on an Atlanta, Ga., Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) train on May 20 by several men allegedly because of their gender identity, Atlanta’s ABC-affiliate station WSB-TV reports.
The incident was caught on camera and went viral after it was posted to www.flyvidz.com. The two-minute clip, which was posted on May 22 and has been viewed more than 2.65 million views, shows the two transgender women getting into a verbal altercation with a group of men. One of the men then kicks the woman, sparking a brawl. During the fight, one of the woman’s clothes are pulled off and is completely naked. Nevertheless, the fight continues. No one intervenes during the fight and there is even an applause and cheering towards the end of the altercation.
The women told WSB-TV they were at a MARTA train station when a group of men approached them and started yelling. They claim the group followed them into the station and waited on the platform next to them while taking pictures of them. The women added they believe they were targeted because they of their gender identity.
"[They] just kept of asking us was we real," Janell Crosby told the news station. "Like really trying to get us. ’Are you real?’ ’Are y’all this or that?’ Just trying to embarrass us."
Tryra Woods added, "They were trying to find out if we are men or women. I shouldn’t have to disclose who I am to an innocent person who I’m not even interested in talking to."
The women say they were harassed, attacked, embarrassed and that no one came to their aide.
"I really didn’t want to fight, but he just kicked me and tried to make a big scene," Crosby told WSB-TV.
"I told one cop who was following us to the gate. He acted like he didn’t want to hear from us," she said, according to the GA Voice, Georgia’s LGBT newspaper. "He didn’t write any statement or anything."
"It’s all over the Internet and like, I’m naked," Woods told the news station. "I felt like since it was in a public transportation, we should’ve felt like we should’ve been secure."
The GA Voice reports Crosby said she doesn’t "know if people are viewing [the video] for the right thing or to change the situation or laugh at it."
Authorities are currently investigating the incident and say they are actively searching for the two men who may have started the fight.
"We will not tolerate this kind of behavior on MARTA," MARTA spokesperson Lyle Harris told WSB-TV. "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 officials were not aware of the attack until Young reported it on May 23. The women said hey tried to call 911 but did not have cell phone reception.
"We depend on our customers to help us make sure the system is as safe as possible," Harris added. "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.
Woods hopes the suspects are caught and arrested.
"I really want an apology from them and I really want the law put on them," she said, according to the GA Voice.
Crosby hopes for a public outcry and that MARTA officials will make policy changes to make their trains safe for all passengers.
The newspaper notes local LGBT activists are calling for action. Two town hall forums are planned to discuss the attacks, one planned for June 3 and another on June 4. Click hereto find out more details.
Woods, who was stripped nude by the men, has left Atlanta for Cleveland, Ohio, however, and is staying with friends and family until she moves back to New York City.
Click here to watch the NSFW clip. Warning: the video is graphic.