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Outfest May Be Officially Canceled, But Philadelphia Holding Plenty Of Events This Weekend Celebrating LGBTQ History

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- National Coming Out Day is set for Monday. Philadelphia typically hosts one of the country's largest coming-out events, but Outfest was canceled this year. Some smaller events are still being planned for this weekend in the city, however.

Community Bar at 21st and Federal Streets is just one of many events being held across the city this weekend despite the official Outfest being canceled.

"That's their problem," Community Bar Owner Angie Sultan said. "We're here to have a good time, raise money, and be proud, so that's what we're going to do."

Ready to party despite controversy. Community Bar in Point Breeze is one of the many bars in Philadelphia preparing for the events this weekend. So is Level Up Bar in the city's Gayborhood.

"We're going to make it happen because we are the locations that people want to come to," Ken Lowe, co-owner of Level Up Bar, said.

Level Up is the only Black-owned gay bar in Philadelphia. They survived the pandemic despite opening just seven days before the original lockdown in March 2020. They're planning for an 11-hour long party on Sunday, featuring seven DJs.

"So far, the event is almost sold out," Lowe said. "So even though we are small, we're expecting a packed house on Sunday."

Over the summer, Philly Pride Presents, which organized Outfest and Philly's Pride Parade, abruptly disbanded. This was after facing years of claims of racism and transphobia.

"The community works together pretty well and it was really nice to see the community come together in our time of need," Steve McCann, Philly Gay Calendar's executive director, said.

In addition to parties, there are dozens of other events planned through Sunday. On Friday, the city is honoring Gloria Casarez -- a permanent marker is being placed outside of City Hall.

Casarez was the city's first director of LGBTQ affairs. She died in 2014 from breast cancer. She was honored with a mural on the side of the former 12th Street Gym. But in a controversial move by a developer, the building was demolished and the mural destroyed.

As for future LGBTQ events, McCann says he has hope.

"Once the groups get together and once COVID is kind of out of the way, things will get bigger and better in the future," he said.

The kickoff party is at Community Bar. It goes until 11 p.m. Thursday, and it's a fundraiser for different LGBTQ organizations. For a full list of events this weekend, click here.

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