As the capital's official Pride festival draws to a close, Wellington's rainbow community says it would like to see more queer acceptance year-round.
The final day of the festival kicks off with the youth-led Pride Hikoi, beginning at Frank Kitts Park, followed by Out in the City in collaboration with Cuba Dupa.
Rosie van Beusekom, president of UniQ – Victoria University's Queer society – said the Hikoi is a great opportunity for young queer people to be visible and proud out in the community.
As a group of more than 270 students at Victoria University, UniQ had designated social spaces but van Beusekom said being out on the streets could still be "harrowing for a lot of people".
"We want to reclaim spaces and be with people with like minds and meet people that have similar if not the same identities to us, not just designated spaces but just everywhere.
"Being out in the streets together is a way of reclaiming that space and showing who we are without fear of harassment or hate."
She would like to see more spaces designated for queer people that were not bars or clubs, as these were not accessible to everyone and not to everyone's individual taste.
"A big misconception about the queer community is that it's all about hook-up culture, so the places that are designed for people from the queer community to meet each other are bars or clubs.
"The rainbow community is incredibly broad and incredibly diverse and our interests vary like any other group of individuals would.
"A bar isn't a very good catch-all for people who aren't into partying, or aren't into drinking or loud music."
Designated queer spaces such as coffee shops and libraries should be made available as well as bars and clubs, she said.
The UniQ community would attend the Pride Hikoi before a community picnic in Civic Square.
She said the Pride Festival had been great for young people who perhaps hadn't experienced large-scale queer events before.
"Being able to go and be part of our community when they're at their most colourful and vibrant is really special to us."
Located at the Michael Fowler Centre, Out in the City – formerly Out in the Park – boasts an array of music, dance, drag, comedy, workshops and vendors.
The event will be co-MCed by Wellington woman Libby Greatnews, performing as drag king Homer Neurotic.
She said the festival - this year focusing on uplifting voices of colour - had brought a sense of the queer community to a "city-wide level".
"That's what has been so wonderful about this pride festival in particular, in that the committee worked really hard to make sure there were a lot of minorities represented and a lot of minority voices put front and centre."
Listening to the voices of elders in the community had been inspiring, but had also shown there was work still to be done, she said.
Trans people and other visibly queer individuals still faced harassment on Wellington streets – as Greatnews herself had experienced when in drag, she said.
Drag performers tended to travel in groups between venues for fear of being harassed, and Greatnews said she particularly made a point of not travelling alone on weekends.
"It's still very dangerous to be publicly queer in somewhere as accepting as Wellington," she said.
"It would be nice if people remembered this all year round but what we hope with the festival is just to remind people that we are here, we're queer, we're proud.
"We were forced into the shadows many years ago and we're not going anywhere."