Trans ex-football star Dani Laidley proves how beautiful it is to live as your true, authentic self

Dani Laidley and Donna Leckie

Dani Laidley, an ex-footballer who recently transitioned, has been showered with compliments after walking a red carpet as her true, authentic self. 

All eyes were on Laidley as she she rocked a glamorous white Bardot dress at the Australian Football League (AFL) Brownlow Medal awards in Melbourne on 18 September. 

The former AFL coach and premiership player walked the red carpet with her partner Donna Leckie, saying: “[I’ve attended] perhaps eight or nine Brownlows [before]. Now to be here celebrating as myself, I’m so very grateful,” Ladbible reported. 

Laidley told Channel Seven it was a “beautiful moment” and added: “I don’t think we’ve ever been so spoiled and felt so really beautiful.”

Dani Laidley stands with her partner Donna

Dani Laidley (left) attended the 2022 Brownlow Medal with her partner Donna Leckie. (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

She said: “It’s been wonderful… it’s just been phenomenal.

“I just said when we came down the stairs ‘we are so grateful and overwhelmed for what you’ve done for us to get here tonight and go enjoy the night of nights’, which we haven’t had for quite a few years.”

The football community took to Twitter to support Laidley, with Fox Footy posting that it was great to see her. 

Another user said Laidley brought “a touch of old Hollywood glamour in [a] stunning gown”. 

Another post read: “Thank you to Dani Laidley and her partner Donna Leckie for saving the #BrownlowMedal red carpet from being entirely heteronormative.” 

While another user congratulated the AFL for its “inclusive approach”, and others were moved to tears by Laidley’s flawless debut.

The 55-year-old was diagnosed with gender dysphoria five years ago and began to transition in 2020. 

It came after images of her, which went viral, were leaked on social media by Australia’s Victoria Police. 

The photos showed Laidley wearing a wig with make-up, and following the leak she slammed the cops responsible.

Laidley later received a formal apology from police deputy commissioner Shane Patton and the force’s internal discipline board ordered 11 officers, ranging from constable to sergeant, to pay up to $3,000 to Laidley out of their own pockets.