Dani Laidley reveals she tried to take her own life as AFL great struggled with gender dysphoria


Footy legend Dani Laidley opens up about the emotional rollercoaster of transitioning which saw her try to take her own life just weeks before her secret was shared with the world thanks to an appalling mugshot leak

  • Dani Laidley revealed she attempted to take her own life on April 5, 2020
  • Laidley was struggling with a life of gender dysphoria when she made decision
  • One month later photographs of her were leaked by officers to the public 
  • Contact Lifeline 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 for support










Former AFL coach and premiership star Dani Laidley has opened up about how she almost took her own life and shared her struggles about going public with her transition.

Laidley said she vividly remembered the moment she attempted to take the drastic measure on April 5, 2020.

The 54-year-old had been wrestling with gender dysphoria for her entire life and tried to keep her true identity a secret from her loved ones and the general public.

Four weeks later that control was forcibly taken away from her when she was arrested and officers leaked a photo and mugshot showing Laidley dressed in women’s clothes. 

The unrelenting attention from the media and humiliating time in front of court brought her to a new low. 

Former AFL coach and premiership star Dani Laidley has revealed she almost took her own life as she opens up on her struggles about going public with her transition

Former AFL coach and premiership star Dani Laidley has revealed she almost took her own life as she opens up on her struggles about going public with her transition

Laidley said she vividly remembered the moment she attempted to take the drastic measure on April 5, 2020

Laidley said she vividly remembered the moment she attempted to take the drastic measure on April 5, 2020

Laidley revealed it took a great deal of strength, self-discovery and a stint in the psychiatric unit to turn a corner and move away from suicide ideation. 

‘I’m bloody happy now that that wasn’t the case because I want to live, I want to enjoy my life,’ she told Herald Sun.

‘I just want to keep being a better person, the best woman I can be, and be the best parent, partner, friend, colleague – all those things I probably wasn’t before because of certain reasons. 

‘It’s been a choice to live authentically as myself or leave this world in pain.’

The North Melbourne premiership player was arrested in May 2020.

She was charged with seven offences including including one each of stalking, committing an indictable offence while on bail and persistent breach of a family violence order and four other intervention order breaches. 

Photographs were leaked showing Laidley being questioned inside of a Melbourne watch house.

She was photographed visibly distressed while wearing blonde hair and make-up on her face and sporting a dress. 

Laidley was described as a ‘full blown tranny’ in an officer WhatsApp group. 

Now that her secret is out Laidley has taken charge and she is slowly becoming more confident in the spotlight

Now that her secret is out Laidley has taken charge and she is slowly becoming more confident in the spotlight

Laidley described the following 18 months as hurtful and the portrayal of the 'gender stuff' as damaging to her and her family

Laidley described the following 18 months as hurtful and the portrayal of the ‘gender stuff’ as damaging to her and her family 

Eleven officers were sanctioned for sharing Laidley’s police file photo and another of her in a police interview room after her arrest for stalking last May.

Victoria Police’s internal discipline board ordered the 11 officers, ranging in rank from constable to sergeant, to pay up to $3,000 to Laidley out of their own pockets.

Laidley described the following 18 months as hurtful and the portrayal of the ‘gender stuff’ as damaging to her and her family.

She had kept her secret so close to her chest that friends called her ‘The Bible’ because she was so hard to read as a person.

Now that her secret is out Laidley has taken charge and she is slowly becoming more confident in the spotlight.

She visited her North Melbourne club last week and spoke at a Transgender Awareness Week event in Torquay, south-west of Melbourne.

Laidley (pictured in 2002) was a 1996 premiership player for North Melbourne and coached the Kangaroos from 2003 to 2009

Laidley (pictured in 2002) was a 1996 premiership player for North Melbourne and coached the Kangaroos from 2003 to 2009

She will publish a book with HarperCollins in September 2022.

Sources in publishing circles have hailed Laidley’s memoirs as a potential ‘walk-up bestseller’. 

Laidley played 151 AFL games for West Coast and North Melbourne, where she won a premiership in 1996 and coached the Kangaroos from 2003 to 2009.

She later spent time as assistant coach at Port Adelaide and Carlton.

Former North Melbourne teammates Anthony Stevens, David King and Brent Harvey, along coaching legend Mick Malthouse are among those who have been a pillar of support to Laidley in recent times.

If you or someone you know needs support, contact Lifeline 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636. 

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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

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