Dani Laidley reveals she tried to kill herself while AFL struggled with gender dysphoria

Footy legend Dani Laidley tells how she tried to kill herself after a horrific mugshot leak – and how she just wants to be ‘the best woman I can be’ now

  • Dani Laidley revealed that she tried to take her own life on April 5, 2020
  • Laidley struggled with a life of gender dysphoria when she made a decision
  • A month later, photos of her were leaked to the public by cops
  • Contact Lifeline 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 for support


Former AFL coach and premiership star Dani Laidley has been candid about how she nearly killed herself and shared her struggles to go public with her transition.

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

The 54-year-old has struggled with gender dysphoria all her life, trying to keep her true identity a secret from her loved ones and the general public.

Four weeks later, she was stripped of that control when she was arrested and police officers leaked a photo and mugshot of Laidley dressed in women’s clothes.

The relentless attention of the media and the humiliating time in court took her to a new low.

Former AFL coach and premiership star Dani Laidley has revealed she has nearly taken her own life as she begins her struggle to go public with her transition

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

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

Laidley revealed that it took a lot of strength, self-discovery and a stint in the psychiatric ward to turn a corner and leave suicidal thoughts behind.

“I’m damn glad it wasn’t because I want to live, I want to enjoy my life,” she said. Herald Sun.

“I just want to remain a better person, the best woman I can be, and be the best parent, partner, friend, colleague—all those things that I probably wasn’t before for certain reasons.

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

The North Melbourne Premiership player was arrested in May 2020.

She was charged with seven felonies, including one of stalking, committing a criminal offense while on bail, and persistent violation of a domestic violence warrant and four other violations of the intervention warrant.

Photos have leaked showing Laidley being questioned at a guardhouse in Melbourne.

She was photographed visibly distressed wearing blond hair and makeup on her face and wearing a dress.

Laidley was described as a “full blown tranny” in a WhatsApp group of agents.

Now that her secret is out, Laidley has taken charge and is slowly gaining confidence in the limelight

Now that her secret is out, Laidley has taken charge and is slowly gaining confidence in the limelight

Laidley described the next 18 months as hurtful and the portrayal of the 'sex things' as damaging to her and her family

Laidley described the next 18 months as hurtful and the portrayal of the ‘sex things’ as damaging to her and her family

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

The Victoria Police Internal Disciplinary Board ordered the 11 officers, ranging in rank from constable to sergeant, to pay Laidley up to $3,000 out of pocket.

Laidley described the next 18 months as hurtful and portraying the “sex things” 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 difficult to read as a person.

Now that her secret is out, Laidley has taken charge and is slowly gaining confidence in the limelight.

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

Publishing sources have hailed Laidley’s memoir as a potential “walk-up bestseller.”

Laidley made 151 AFL appearances 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 an assistant coach at Port Adelaide and Carlton.

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

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

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