Dani Laidley has slammed her treatment at the hands of the police, saying they denied her the chance to work through her gender transition with her family.
The former AFL great was outed as transgender by a police officer who leaked photos of her wearing a wig and dress in custody before she had publicly announced her transition.
“What the Victorian police did took away our opportunity to see out as a family and discuss, ‘OK, (this is happening), how are we going to go about that?’ That has caused some real grief. We will never get it back,” she said in an appearance on the Today show on Friday.
Laidley told host Karl Stefanovic that she was still working through a resolution with her kids even three years on from the leaked photos.
“It is ongoing Karl. We continue to work through that all the time,” she said.
Laidley, formerly known as Dean James Laidley, played for the West Coast Eagles and North Melbourne between 1987 and 1997, winning a premiership with North in 1996 before coaching them from 2003 to 2009.
Privately, however, Laidley battled a struggle with gender dysmorphia for 49 years of her life.
An upcoming documentary, Revealed – Danielle Laidley: Two Tribes, which premieres on Stan on September 19, follows a memoir last year as Laidley tries to regain control of a narrative she said was taken from her by police.
Laidley was arrested in May 2020 over stalking allegations during an ongoing battle with drug addiction.
Her lawyer announced that she had transitioned later that year and wished to be referred to as Dani moving forward.
“I made so many mistakes through that period of time, but I worked really hard at myself to be the best person that I can be,” she told Today
Appearing alongside partner Donna, Laidley said she hoped the new documentary and her book would act as a positive example for the transgender community.
“Yes, we are out and about and through the book, 60 Minutes (she appeared on the show last year) and now the documentary, people may think we live in this wonderful life, but it is really important, we feel, for particularly the transgender community, you can’t be what you can’t see,” she said.
“For us to just live our life and do these sort of things, you know hopefully a lot of
people will get something out of that.”
Laidley also paid tribute to Donna, who she has known since grade 1.
“It (their love life) is great. I love her to bits, she’s crazy,” she said.