A comedy festival featuring nearly 100 female, trans and non-binary performers kicked off in Montreal on Sunday.

It's the seventh edition of Ladyfest, which organizers call a one-of-a-kind event giving the floor to comics who struggle for opportunities.

"The idea behind the festival is that it's already—as we've seen in the media this week—challenging to be a woman on a comedy lineup," said festival director Sara Meleika.

This week, it emerged just how far some venues will go to keep women off the stage.

"There was a venue in Gatineau that fabricated a woman using AI rather than just booking a female performer," explained Meleika.

Performers in this festival say Ladyfest is a step in the right direction.

"It means everything to have a place to be yourself and not have to explain everything, to just be understood," said comedian Alo Azimov.

The Diving Bell Social Club will have a packed lineup of comedy for the next week, from stand-up to sketch comedy, improv and burlesque.

"This is definitely a festival where there will be at least one performer who is for you," said Meleika.

The festival runs until September 3.