Continuing speculation over the alleged gay-bashing attack on Pattrick Blackburn in St. John's earlier in August has caused a painful rift within the city's LGBT community, according to a representative of St. John's Pride Inc.
In a video that he posted to YouTube that was later removed, Blackburn said he overheard a group of males walking behind him call him a gay slur while he was walking downtown on the night of Aug. 15, but that he doesn't remember anything after that.
He said the next thing he knew, he woke up in hospital with stitches after losing a lot of blood in an attack.
According to Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officers, there is no official complaint or statement from Blackburn about the incident to date.
The lack of an official police report, as well as doubts voiced on social media about the legitimacy of fundraising efforts to benefit Blackburn, has led to a debate from both sides.
Noah Davis-Power, chair of the organization, said there is growing tension between people who believe Blackburn's story and support him — and those who think there are some questions that still need answering, to verify what they believe as fact or fiction.
"Amongst the community, it's just been the hot topic of conversation now ever since it happened and it's, again, just boiling down at even parties," Davis-Power said.
"All of these questions just circulating just over and over and over [are] making the divide very clear right now."
According to Davis-Power, the constant swirl of questions is counter-productive because either scenario is not ideal.
"It's going to come down one way or the other — when the axe drops, neither situation is good. We either actually had a hate crime here that left someone pretty debilitated, or we have someone who's made a black mark on the queer community, saying the boy who cried wolf," he said.
"So, in either case, the question is: are we safe? And then, if something does actually happen where this does happen to be not true, are people going to believe us next time when it actually does happen."
Davis-Power said the questions are better left for police to resolve.