Dani Laidley has revealed the huge risk she took while still hiding her true self from family, friends and football stars while coaching at North Melbourne.
New Stan’s Original Documentary Revealed – Danielle Laidley: Two Tribes shows the 56-year-old meeting former teammates and players for the first time since her struggle with her gender identity and transition to female became public.
Laidley receives a warm and emotional welcome from football greats Peter Bell, Matthew ‘Spider’ Burton and Adam Simpson, with the latter welcoming him home with a kiss on the cheek and the words “It’s been a long time, mate” .
The former Kangaroos coach and star player (pictured in July with partner Donna Leckie) has an emotional reunion with her former teammates in documentary Stan Revealed – Danielle Laidley: Two Tribes
Former North Melbourne teammates from the club’s golden years in the 1990s are joined by two Laidley-coached players – Drew Petrie and Daniel Pratt – for a very revealing chat.
During the meeting, the former Kangaroos star and coach reveals she flirted with revealing her true identity when she managed the club from 2003 to 2009.
“I used to go out when I was coaching and I knew it was high risk,” she told her friends before explaining that she was dressed to reflect her true gender identity at the time. ‘era.
‘What were you doing?’ Pratt asks. “Were you just being yourself?”
“No, I was my real me – me,” Laidley replies, pointing to his heart.
“I always felt inside how I now appear on the outside – always,” she continues.
“I’ve never heard you talk so much,” Pratt observes.
Laidley (pictured in 1998) reveals he risked exposing his double life to the world while coaching North Melbourne
The former Kangaroos boss (pictured with his assistant coach Darren Crocker in 2009) receives a warm welcome from his ex-teammates before their revealing conversation
‘You know why?’ Laidley responds. “It’s therapeutic for me.
“I have never in my life been able to sit down and talk about everything in my life.
“It’s been so segmented, Pratty, and that’s why it’s been so difficult. So what you see now is me.
It’s just one of many poignant moments the group shares with Laidley as she talks about the price of keeping Foot’s biggest secret from those closest to her.
“When there is stress or when gender issues arise and I have to deal with them, I focus on my career,” she told the group.
‘I was with my counselor one day and it came out and I was like, ‘Oh shit.’
Dani’s teammates from North’s golden years in the 1990s – including current West Coast coach Adam Simpson (left), Matthew Burton (right) and Peter Bell – support her during their reunion.
“I was diagnosed with gender dysphoria, which I have had for as long as I can remember.”
At one point, Peter Bell tells her that everyone in the room just wants her to be happy, before Burton asks her if she has any regrets.
An emotional Laidley said: “The only thing I regret, Spi, is the way it happened, and it took my daughters away from me.”
The documentary also reveals the shocking way her children found out she had transitioned, as well as the heartbreaking moment she recounts her suicide attempt.
In 2020, Dani’s life spiraled out of control when she was arrested on stalking charges amid a struggle with drug addiction.
Stan’s documentary (pictured) also reveals the shocking way Laidley’s children found out she had transitioned.
A Victoria police officer leaked photos of Dani in custody to the media, publicly outing her before she revealed it to other family members and friends.
In the anticipated documentary, she speaks candidly about her life as a closeted transgender woman in the AFL, her arrest and how she found her true self over the past three years.
“It is with nervous anticipation that I share my Australia story. It hasn’t been the easiest road, but I have made precious memories along the way and met some incredible people,” says Dani.
“This story will have no effect; you will see me at my lowest and my highest, surrounded by those I care about most and who have supported me through it all.
“My truth is becoming more and more common in today’s society and highlights the need for greater inclusion, understanding and acceptance. »
Stan Original Documentary Revealed – Danielle Laidley: Two Tribes will premiere on September 19 only on Stan.