Trans comedian ‘struggled to get replies’ when planning Fringe run

A comedian who performed at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe has said she faced barriers to taking part as a result of being trans.

Anna Piper Scott made her Fringe debut this year and said she and other trans performers have had less coverage and struggled to get reviewers to come to shows.

As she got ready to perform her final show on Sunday, Miss Scott told the PA news agency she struggled to get replies back from management companies or line-up shows when she was first planning her Edinburgh run.

The Melbourne-based comedian said: “In terms of barriers for trans people, we’ve had trouble getting replies from some of the management companies or some of the line-up shows, stuff like that.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Anna Piper Scott outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, where Graham Linehan eventually staged a gig this year after controversy over his gender-critical beliefs (Jane Barlow/PA)

“And even though like I’m incredibly acclaimed back in Australia, the gigs are harder to get here than they should be.

“It’s hard not to think that at a certain point it must be something to do with me being trans.”

Her comments come after comedian Graham Linehan attracted considerable media attention after his performance at Comedy Unleashed at Leith Arches was cancelled because of his views on trans people.

Miss Scott said: “Somehow we all get less coverage than a lonely old man doing his second ever open-mic gig.

“I can’t imagine what I could do if I was as ‘silenced’ as Graham Linehan.”

LGB Alliance annual conference 2021
Graham Linehan’s comedy gig at the Fringe was cancelled as a result of his gender-critical views (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Linehan eventually ended up giving an open air gig outside the Scottish Parliament where Miss Scott was photographed with placards urging people to come and talk to her in lieu of handing out flyers.

She added: “People like talking about trans people much more than they like talking to trans people.

“I think a lot of people assume that a trans comedian isn’t going to be for the general public, but most of my audience is straight and cisgender.

“We are just like everyone else, we’re members of the general public and we have ideas about everything.”

Miss Scott, who has performed as part of the House of Oz which showcases Australian comedy, said the debate around trans rights in the UK is much more polarised than back home in Australia.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Anna Piper Scott said the debate around trans issues is far more polarised in the UK than in Australia, where she lives (Jane Barlow/PA)

She said: “In Australia, it’s not as big an issue. We’ve got the same kinds of people trying to make the same kind of controversy, but the thing you’ve got to realise is, they’re doing these hate campaigns to boost their profile or to make some money.

“Australians just don’t seem to care as much.”

Miss Scott said she has had a very positive reception from audiences at the Fringe.

She said: “It’s been really good and it’s been a big boost to my career.

“I still have people coming up afterwards (at shows) and want to talk for 20 minutes or give me a hug.”