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Question that brought Danielle Laidley to tears, 60 Minutes interview, transition, transgender, North Melbourne

Former North Melbourne coach Danielle Laidley has broken her silence to reveal gut-wrenching details about her 50-year battle with gender dysphoria.

He said in a candid interview with Channel 9. 60 minutesThe 55-year-old West Australian woman detailed the struggles she faced when transitioning to transgender.

Despite the gender she was assigned at birth – she was known to millions of Aussie sports fans as player and coach Dean Laidley – she understood that she was female for five decades.

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But Laidley tried hard to keep her secret from friends, family and the wider footy community – representing West Coast and North Melbourne for 11 seasons, winning a premiership with the Kangaroos in 1996.

If she had told her mother about her gender dysphoria, Laidley says, “She probably would have put me in the loony bin.”

But the ex-footballer insists she’s still the same person – she’s just changed her name.

“Life was not easy, I found it hard until the end,” she said.

“There was a skinny kid who ran like crazy on the field.

But that was part of the mask to cover up.

“I don’t let people get close to me.

“I thought I was coping well, but I wasn’t.

Danielle was previously known to millions through her playing and coaching career as Dean Laidley. Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty ImagesSource: Submitted
Danielle Laidley at Marvel Stadium. Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Her notes are concrete and clear Don’t Look Away: A Memoir of Identity and AcceptanceIn this week’s release, Laidley details her ice addiction and attempted suicide in 2020 after eight days of drug addiction.

“Addiction runs in the back of my family; a lot of self-harm, alcohol,” she said.

“(It) started when I was working. And then, gambling, drinking and finally, when I left the AFL, the drugs happened. And it’s something I’m very ashamed and embarrassed about. And you get this humiliation and shame from my gender dysphoria, from being called a cross-dresser, from being labeled a snowhead.

“That’s still the most embarrassing part for me. And I have a hard time dealing with that because I only know where that is placed in the story.

And Laidley breaks down in tears when asked about her relationship with her three grown-up children.

“All I can say is we’ll be a family again in God’s time,” she replied.

They’ve persevered enough, and one day, hopefully, in a few years we’ll be sitting here and we’re all in a better place.

But yes, it left a big hole in my heart.

“They were my life…I love them with all my heart.”

In May 2020, Laidley was arrested while wearing a costume and a blonde wig and was charged with stalking and domestic violence offences, among a series of other offences.

During her arrest, police officers took photos of her in her wig and outfit and shared them on social media.

The photos went viral, with TV, radio and print media broadcasting her struggle with drugs.

“People … see me coaching as an angry, angry senior coach. And then I deliberately went off the radar and began to transition emotionally. Then suddenly I appeared… with those disgusting photos,” she said.

“The photos were an invasion of privacy… I hate the words ‘get out’, why do I have to do that? I was living a quiet life. Yes, I was lost, I went off the rails for the first time in my life. And it was very embarrassing for me. The exit is taken.

However, Laidley has been comforted by the outpouring of support she has received from her former team-mates and the football community since coming out publicly about her gender.

She is still learning to love herself.

“I’m in a great place,” she said.

“There is a real calm in my life. And for the first time in a long time, it is very stable.

“I know there will be a few punches in the nose because the first person to change in society is often bloody and corrupt.

“And for the next generation, if it has to be me, I am. I am happy with that.

Former North Melbourne coach Daniel Laidley with Brent Harvey. Picture: Alex Coppel.Source: Submitted

– with NCA NewsWire

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