A relative of a man whose death helped inspire New Zealand gay rights says she's seen wild change since she joined queer activism.
But there's still a long way to go – and much of the work is close to home.
Wellington woman Nicole Skews-Poole, herself a queer feminist activist, was born in the year the Homosexual Law reform passed (1986).
She became the Queer rep at Massey University, having attended her first protest as a high school student in 2004 – a counter-march to those protesting against the Civil Union Act.
"I was born the year it was no longer illegal to be gay," she said.
"[The Civil Union Act] was my first protest and it's now legal to get married. And that tide turned really quickly."
As the Wellington Pride Festival begins this weekend, Skews-Poole said it's important to reflect on the festival as an act of protest, as well as celebration.
"The first pride parades were protests," she said.
"And until everyone in the queer community has the safety and the equity and the acceptance that they need - not just from the wider community, but from within the queer community - that space should absolutely be for agitation and protest."
While the queer community still faced discrimination in society, she said much of the stigma sadly came from within. The full inclusion of trans people was one of the biggest problems, she said.
"There are pockets of the queer community which are now way more conservative than 20 years ago," she said.
"In particularly the anti-trans movement - there are lesbians and gay men that don't feel like trans people belong in the queer community."
On the other hand, as a bisexual woman, Skews-Poole said she had at times felt "not queer enough" for the rainbow community.
"Bisexuality and queerness was measured by how many people of the same gender you had been in relationships with, and that's still the case in the community, which is really problematic.
"I felt happy with myself in telling people I was bisexual but I didn't feel super confident with it within my own community until I had relationships with other women.
She has been in serious relationships with men and women, and is now married to a man, which she says some people take as proof that bisexual people will eventually "pick a side".
"I'm still very much bisexual, but as someone who is married to someone of the opposite gender, I often feel not queer enough for queer spaces."
"It's funny that there seems to be an expectation that bisexual people can't settle down with someone of any gender or else they've betrayed their bisexuality."
But she acknowledges how far New Zealand society has come since the lifetime of her distant cousin Charles Arthur "Allan" Aberhart, a Blenheim man convicted and imprisoned for sexual relations with another man in October 1963.
Shortly after Aberhart's release from prison, he was beaten to death by six teenagers in Hagley Park, Christchurch, at age 37. It was widely interpreted as a gay hate crime, and yet his six attackers were found not guilty.
The injustice of the verdict inspired generations of queer activism to come.
"His death was the first important spark that was lit around getting the homosexual law reform passed and I was born the year it was passed, in 1986."
After learning of Aberhart's story, Skews-Poole fought to have his criminal convictions overturned, which finally happened in 2019.
Earlier this year she visited his gave in Blenheim to read him the expungement letter in person.
Skews-Poole said she didn't often make parallels between her experiences in 2021 as a bisexual woman to Allan's as a gay man in 1960s rural New Zealand.
But she did often think about how brave he had been in admitting his sexuality in 1963.
Not only did he face the prospect of jail time, but Skews-Poole suspects his reputation as a gay man and criminal influenced the jury's decision to let his attackers off lightly.
"I think a lot about how brave Allan was in that when he was convicted for homosexual activity he could have lied and said that's not what happened.
"There was at least one moment where someone was like 'did you do this' and he said yes."
"He told the truth knowing he was going to be imprisoned, which I think speaks to his character."
• The Wellington Pride Festival begins today, and runs until Saturday March 27.