Dani Laidley reveals all in new show

x x x x x
Laidley said she now looks on the outside how she has always felt on the inside. Picture: YouTube

A new documentary is set to uncover the real life story of former AFL coach and player Danielle Laidley “in (her) own words”.

The Stan Original Documentary, ‘Revealed - Danielle Laidley: Two Tribes’, premieres on September 19 and promises to reveal the AFL great like never before.

Laidley, formerly known as Dean James, played for the West Coast Eagles and North Melbourne between 1987 and 1997, before coaching the latter from 2003 to 2009.

Privately, however, Laidley battled a lifelong struggle with gender dysmorphia.

x x x x x
Laidley became the AFL’s second youngest coach in 2003, taking up the position at North Melbourne at age 36. Picture: YouTube
x x x x x
Laidley also played in North Melbourne’s 1996 premiership team. Picture: YouTube

In May 2020 the football great was arrested over stalking allegations during her ongoing battle with a drug addiction, and was outed as transgender by a police officer who leaked photos of her in custody.

Laidley’s lawyer announced she had transitioned in November that year, sharing Laidley’s wish to be referred to henceforth as Dani.

“I hated who I was,” Laidley said in the documentary’s trailer.

“In the AFL it was always, ‘he’s the gay footballer’, and I would think, ‘you wait until you hear about me’.”

x x x x x
Laidley said she now looks on the outside how she has always felt on the inside. Picture: YouTube

The former AFL star has since reunited with her current partner, Donna Leckie, who was a lifelong friend.

“There’s no doubt that the people around me and the AFL saved my life,” Laidley said.

“I’m proud of who I am and who I’m becoming.

“I’ve always felt on the inside how I appear now on the outside, so what you see now is me.”

x x x x x
Laidley said the AFL and her current partner, Donna Leckie, saved her life. Picture: YouTube

Stan’s chief content officer Cailah Scobie said Laidley’s story was an important one that “demands to be heard”.

“We believe audiences will be inspired by Danielle’s fascinating journey,” she said.

Laidley said the film would show her at both her lowest and highest points, but had ultimately been an opportunity to tell her story “in (her) own words”.

“My truth is becoming an increasingly common one in today’s society, and highlights the need for greater inclusivity, understanding and acceptance,” she said.

‘Revealed - Danielle Laidley: Two Tribes’ was created by Stan in conjunction with JAM TV and was co-written and co-directed by Emmy award-winning Julie Kalceff and Sam Matthews.